April 21, 2024

English Rural Prosperity Fund Business Grant

The England Rural Prosperity Fund is an 'add-on' fund for rural areas in England as an addition to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) which forms part of the Government's wider leveling up agenda. REPF is a capital grants fund only. The fund is managed by North Kesteven District Council on behalf of DEFRA.

According to DEFRA, the REPF provides capital funding to:

'Support new and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy. This includes agricultural companies looking to diversify their income streams.

The council has allocated £450,000 to the Rural Business Grant to support businesses in the area.

The Rural Business Grant is discretionary and will support Capital investments only In the following categories:

  • Rural start-ups and new enterprises in the sectors identified below
  • The visitor economy (including visitor accommodation) and supply chains
  • Hospitality sector
  • Converting rural buildings for commercial and economic purposes
  • Food and beverage sector and supply chains
  • Manufacturing and supply chain sector
  • Non-farm-owned diversifications (those not eligible for FIF and other core Defra funds)

In line with Defra guidance and the 25-year environment plan, (25-year-environment-plan.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)) the Rural Business Grant will seek to prioritize:

  • Investments that support green growth in renewables, green energy and energy efficiency measures that reduce rural dependence on fossil fuels and contribute positively to net zero. This includes investments aimed at reducing fuel costs.

Note: Most boroughs in North Kesteven are eligible for REPF funding, however, the Council has been issued guidance from DEFRA regarding some areas of North Hykeham and Waddington West that are not eligible for this grant funding. These sites, although part of the North Kesteven area, are considered by DEFRA to be geographically contiguous with the City of Lincoln. As an “urban” rather than “rural” area, the City of Lincoln is not eligible for the REPF.

Grant process and application registration

Due to the very high level of interest in the Fund that was demonstrated at the Expression of Interest stage, the Board decided that the Rural Business Grant Fund would be competitive. This means that all applications will be scored according to the criteria set out below and prizes will be awarded to those applications with the highest scores. It is not necessary to have submitted an expression of interest in order to apply for the Rural Business Grant.
All applications must meet the criteria set out by DEFRA for REPF and the Council in its Grants Policy to be considered eligible. Financial checks will be carried out on all applications to reduce the risk of fraud and ensure that funding is only awarded to companies able to demonstrate financial viability.

After initial eligibility checks, all applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

1. Impact of the grant

  • On business
  • on the local economy
  • On the environment/carbon footprint

2. Addition

  • Will the intervention provide something new and measurable?

3. Value for money

  • Intervention rate (% grant vs. % match)
  • Project costs: Is the investment cost competitive and does it represent good value for money?

4. Deliverability

Note: After evaluation and scoring, all applications will be considered by a panel of NKDC officials from across the Council representing the Economic Development, Finance, Planning and Climate Change teams. Applicants will be notified of the result as soon as possible after the committee reaches its final decision.

Note 2: In accordance with standard grant procedures, NKDC will not accept retrospective applications for work already completed or partially undertaken. As such, the NKDC states that no pre-emptive work should be undertaken on any proposal until a decision has been made by the Award Committee and the applicant has been notified of the outcome.

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Note 3: All applications consisting of proposals requiring planning permission, or other permissions, must be approved and implemented before an application for this scheme can be submitted.