Business support funding of £4.3m is being made available for the tourism, agriculture and food production industries in Cumbria.

As part of the allocation of remaining EU funding streams secured via the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, three new programme rounds have been launched under the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

A £1.3m investment is available to support the development of tourism infrastructure throughout rural Cumbria.  The aim is to support projects that will encourage more tourists to visit Cumbria, stay longer and spend more money in rural areas.

Funding of £1.5m is to assist rural business development with grants to enable farm diversification or business innovation and growth.  Grant funding can help pay for constructing or improving buildings and/or buying new equipment and machinery.

The remaining £1.5m is being applied to help food processing businesses to develop and extend supply chains, enabling them to export their goods as well as achieving business growth.  It is aimed at food and drink businesses which process agricultural and horticultural products.

These latest EAFRD funding rounds are open for a twelve month period.

Graham Haywood, director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership says: “This is another valuable tranche of EU investment rounds focusing on growing a diverse and vibrant rural economy within the county.  The funding is aligned with the county’s strategic economic plan, with a keen focus on innovation, opportunities to diversify, and helping rural businesses grow and create more jobs.

“The county’s businesses still have access to significant EU funding resources to help them achieve growth.  Applicants can be assured that contracts in place will be fully funded, even if their projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.”

For further information about the specifications of the ‘tourism infrastructure’ investment call, visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/586201/RDPE_Growth_Programme_rural_tourism_infrastructure_handbook_v1.0.pdf

For further information about the specifications of the ‘rural business development’ investment call, visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/586202/RDPE_Growth_Programme_business_development_handbook_v1.0.pdf

For further information about the specifications of the ‘food processing’ investment call, visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/586200/RDPE_Growth_Programme_food_processing_handbook_v1.0.pdf  Applicants who would like to find out more about the Eden Food Enterprise Zone should contact Oliver Shimell at Eden District Council via email Oliver.Shimell@eden.gov.uk

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and its partners play a key role in determining how EU funds are invested throughout the county.  This includes a range of projects to support business growth and innovation, create jobs and improve skills levels.

Corinne Watson from Cumbria LEP adds:  “These latest funding rounds are part of the wider programme of EU backed investments which will emerge this year so that the county can take full advantage of its original planned allocation.

“It’s important to remind potential applicants that the European Structural Investment Funds programme is expected to be delivered until the end of 2020, so we’re keen to hear about projects which can benefit from this funding.

“We are also intending to work with colleagues in DEFRA to run a workshop in the near future which will help interested organisations to develop successful applications.”

Cumbria is a recipient of funding from the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) programme, which includes the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF).

European funding streams are managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government for ERDF, the Department for Work and Pensions for ESF and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs for EAFRD.

For further information on European Funding in Cumbria, please contact Corinne Watson at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership by emailing corinne.watson@cumbria.gov.uk