Rural businesses and communities are set to receive half a million pounds to implement projects

Tuffon Hall Cellar Door
Tuffon Hall Cellar Door

Rural businesses and community groups are set to receive a £558K boost thanks to the allocation of grants by Braintree District Council.

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Nineteen organisations are set to receive grants from the Government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund of between £10,000 and £50,000 for the execution of capital projects in rural areas.

Braintree District Council invited small businesses and community groups within rural areas to apply for the grants at the end of last year. The majority of bids have now been approved in accordance with the criteria set and agreements have been entered into with successful applicants.

The grants will be used to improve community facilities, grow local tourism economies and help rural businesses expand products, amenities and services.

The funding comes from the Government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund which is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda. The fund is a rural top-up to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, from which Braintree District Council has already spent £377K since 2022 supporting businesses and community groups across the District.

The aim is to encourage business growth and create employment opportunities within rural areas. This will help improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and rural communities.

The successful applicants will use the funds to improve existing facilities, enhance services and accommodation as well as introduce energy-efficient measures.

Pod Crowther, owner of Tuffon Hall Vineyard and Wedding Venue in Sible Hedingham, will be using the funds to build a glamping pod to complement the venue’s existing on-site accommodation.

Pod said: “We are delighted to receive the funds to build an additional glamping cabin which will be situated in the middle of our vineyard. We find that people who come to stay often visit the local pub and shops so the whole community benefits. Without the grant, we simply would not be able to offer this additional accommodation.”

Blackmore End Village Hall will be using its grant to replace an outdated sewage system which dates back to the 1920s.

Daniel Miller, Trustee at Blackmore End Village Hall and Playing Field, said: “This project will go a long way towards improving our village hall and making it more sustainable. The hall acts as the hub of our small community, offering many events and opportunities for local people to come together. We are very happy to have been awarded this grant, allowing us to improve this vital part of our village and reach out to more people."

Cllr Peter Schwier, Lead Member for Rural Issues at Braintree District Council, said: “These grants will strengthen communities, grow existing businesses, boost local tourism as well as create employment opportunities for rural areas. This investment is an important step in unlocking the potential of rural businesses and communities and plays an important role in the success of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.”

The grants will be paid to recipients once projects are complete.

Notes to editors:

A full list of the successful applicants, the projects and the amount allocated can be found here: 1 May 2024 and 9 April 2024.

The Rural England Prosperity Fund provides £110 million of funding for investment within rural communities across England. The fund is a rural top-up to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025.

The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit:

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Published: 23rd May 2024