The Chilterns LEADER Programme has received an extra £180,000, while the North & West Northamptonshire LEADER Programme has received a £120,000 injection. This brings the total extra funding received since the start of the LEADER project – which also includes Clay Vales LEADER Programme – to just over £780,000.

The new extra funding has been earmarked to support those rural businesses who have applications currently submitted to the LEADER Programme, and so it is hoped that the funding will soon be put into effect supporting rural business projects.

LEADER programme manager Will Dallimore said: “This additional funding means even more rural businesses will benefit from the LEADER Programme. The scope and impact of the projects supported to date has been impressive and as we come towards the end of this funding round, the extra £300,000 will ensure we end on a suitably high note.”

The LEADER Programme delivers grants of between £5,000 – £180,000 to support business growth in rural areas. Example projects eligible for funding include farm shops, farming & forestry machinery, glamping, local food initiatives, food and drink processing, and many more.

The LEADER programme is designed to promote business growth, particularly the growth of micro and small businesses. It is focused on rural areas supporting; small rural companies, farm diversification projects, forestry projects, tourism projects, rural services and cultural and heritage projects. Each programme area is expected to help with the creation of approximately 75 jobs and to provide financial support for 130 rural businesses.

The LEADER Programme is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and is delivered by Ngage Solutions.