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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Rural businesses in Cumbria asked to help shape EU grant scheme

RURAL businesses in Cumbria are being encouraged to apply for funding in the next phase of a European project.

A series of drop-in sessions for businesses and stakeholders are being held this month around the county so that local people can shape how the 2015-20 LEADER programme of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) is delivered here and start preparing applications for grants.

Cumbria has been the flagship area for RDPE LEADER funding in the past, with two areas, Cumbria Fells and Dales and Solway, Border and Eden delivering £15m worth of grants and support since the programme started in 2007.

According to the guidelines set out by the EU and Defra, the focus in the next part of the programme will be on projects which deliver economic growth and create new jobs.

The following sessions will take place at the following locations:

- Rankin Room, Broughton Victory Memorial Hall - 2.30pm to 5.30pm on May 12

- Alston Town Hall - 5.30pm to 7.30pm on May 16

- Quaker Meeting House, Keswick - 2.30pm to 5.30pm on May 16

- The Royal Oak, Appleby - 2pm to 5.30pm on May 17

- Westmorland Agricultural Society, Lane Fram, Crooklands - 2.30pm to 5.30pm on May 19

- Captain Shaw Community Hall, Bootle - 6pm to 7pm (Drop-in session), 7pm to 9pm (Formal presentation) on May 20

- Cumberland Suite, The Market Hall, Church Street, Wigton - 2.30pm to 5.30pm on May 21

Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council's cabinet member for economic development, said: “Cumbria has been at the forefront of the LEADER programme, delivering more grants and creating more jobs than anywhere else in the country.

“It can give small rural businesses the kick start they need to go on and deliver future growth. We’re now in the transition phase between the last programme and the next one and we want as many people as possible to contribute their ideas and ask questions at these consultation events.

“This will assist us in setting priorities and developing action plans for when the next programme opens up for applications next year.”

People can also fill out a survey online to give their input on how they feel previous programmes operated and how the next one can be improved.

The survey is available at either www.haveyoursay.org.uk or directly via the LEADER programme websites: www.fellsanddales.org.uk or www.sbeleader.org.uk

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