|01/07/2011||The LEADER Programme – supporting farming’s future|
The Southern Oxfordshire LEADER Programme has funding available to support a wide range of projects for farmers. So far a handful of farms have already taken advantage of the offer and it is hoped their success will help to inspire other farms to get on board and apply for funding.
In 2009 the Southern Oxfordshire LEADER programme, a joint initiative involving South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils, was awarded £1.89 million of European funding to support rural projects, including farms, up to 2013.
Funding is available to farmers in South Oxfordshire and the Vale to help develop their business, including diversifying their operations and developing and adding value to their produce.
Among the farms that have already received funding from the Programme are Peach Croft Farm in Radley and Park Farm in Littleworth near Faringdon.
Bill Homewood of Peach Croft Farm is delighted at the contribution that the funding has made to the installation of an extended refrigeration area for his seasonalturkey and geese enterprise. He said: "It made the whole thing possible and has proved a great investment for our business. It allows us to grow the business if the market allows and has improved the quality of our products. I would encourage others to apply and benefit from the grants available."
At Park Farm, owners the Viner Family received a LEADER Programme grant to help towards a project to establish a small sustainable tourism business offering luxury camping between April and October. The project is being run in conjunction with Feather Down Farms (www.featherdown.co.uk) which promotes farming holidays in the UK and will allow the next generation to become involved in running the farm to secure its succession.
Lindsay Viner of Park Farm, said: “The grant has been invaluable for us, without it we would not have been able embark on this diversification project. Kate and the team have been very helpful in guiding us through the application and claim process. The grant was awarded in September and now we are just getting ready to open our doors to our first guests at the start of April. So far we are very pleased with advanced bookings and hopefully this project will mean that the farm can continue on to the fourth generation of our family. ”
By helping farmers to grow their businesses the LEADER Programme provides benefits not only to the farms involved but also to the wider community and the southern Oxfordshire economy by supporting local job creation and helping to raise the profile of farming and locally produced food in the area.
Kate Forrest of the LEADER Programme, said: “The funding that we have available gives farming businesses in southern Oxfordshire a much needed boost to help them develop. Farms that diversify can provide a real boost to the local economy and the wider community, and we encourage any that are looking to do just that to get in touch with us and apply for funding.”
If like Peach Croft and Park farms you are looking to develop your business then why not get in touch with us to find out if you could qualify for a Southern Oxfordshire LEADER grant. For more information on the Southern Oxfordshire LEADER Programme, how to apply for funding and the programme's aims and boundaries, visit www.southernoxfordshireleader.org.uk or contact Kate Forrest on 01491 823176 or email email@example.com.
For further information please contact Gavin Walton on 01235 540376.
*LEADER (the “Liaisons Enter Actions de Developpement de L'Economie Rurale” or “Links between actions for the development of the rural economy”) funding is available as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007-2013 and is delivered with support from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and the South East England Development Agency.
The Southern Oxfordshire Local Action Group is made up from volunteers representing the following organisations; DAMASCUS Youth Project, Local Farmers, BCTV, National Farmers Union, Sustainable Wallingford, Sylva Trust, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council,The Northmoor Trust, Berks Bucks & Oxon Food Group, 21st Century Thame, Oxfordshire Rural Community Council, and Local Business and Community Representatives.
The project is delivered with local support from South Oxfordshire District Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council. Grants are available for up to £50,000, but will typically be for £20,000 to £30,000 and can be used for 30 to 50 per cent of the cost of the project.