£4m boost to jobs and economy for rural businesses

Rural businesses and communities in Northumberland are set to benefit from nearly £4million to help create jobs and boost the economy.

And to help decide which organisations receive grant funding, the Northumberland LEADER Programme is looking to recruit new members to its Local Action Groups (LAGs).

These groups are made up of the local community along with the public and private sector. They will decide which projects they will fund in their area.

This depends on their priorities, but all projects must support one or more of the six LEADER priorities, which are as follows – support micro and small businesses and farm diversification; boost rural tourism; increase farm productivity; increase forestry productivity; provide rural services; provide cultural and heritage activities.

A grant pot of £4million will be opened for applications in the coming months and the programme open until 2019 for eligible rural businesses.

Previous rounds of this funding in Northumberland have supported many and varied projects.

LEADER programme officer Ivan Hewitt said: “With the beginning of the new programme, we are looking to widen and develop the membership of our LAGs.

“We want to hear from local businesses, community organisations, parish and town councils, development trusts, public-sector agencies and local residents. By developing the LAGs in this way, we intend to ensure there are a broad range of interests local to Northumberland represented.”

Anyone interested in joining either of the LAGs should email their name, organisation (if appropriate), contact address including postcode, contact number and email address to either Northumberland Coast and Lowlands – email ivan.hewitt@northumberland.gov.uk or telephone 01670 623927 – or Northumberland Uplands – email gillian.cowell@northumberland.gov.uk or telephone 01670 623885.

Applications need to be received by Friday, July 31.