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A new grant has incentivised rural businesses to create new jobs.

Rural businesses expand with grant help

Innovative rural businesses looking to create more jobs have received grant help to launch or expand.

Successful applicants are an adult dementia day care centre, forestry management business, a growing B&B and an up-market soft furnishings maker.

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for Environment and Rural Issues, said:

Staffordshire has a good reputation for providing the major infrastructure and facilities big businesses need to thrive and prosper, but we are a large rural county and the success of our diverse rural economy is very important to us.

“This scheme is about helping new and existing rural businesses in the LEADER programme’s area get their ideas up and running to create new jobs and I wish them every success.”

Managed and delivered by the county council, £2.25 million is available through the European Union’s LEADER programme: grants can be for up to £40,000 and can fund up to 40 per cent of the eligible project costs.

The successful applications were for:

  • The construction of a work room at Mary Grice Soft Furnishings, near Lichfield, to allow for the expansion of the business;
  • The conversion of a redundant farm building to provide a specialised day care facility offering a therapeutic approach for adult dementia sufferers at Wonderdale Care, at Great Gate, near Alton;
  • The creation of additional self-catering units at Moreton Hall Farm west of Gnosall, meeting a demand for more overnight accommodation in the county;
  • Buying new forestry equipment to broaden the capabilities of Staffordshire Moorlands-based ArB Tree Care and restore neglected plantations to an active management programme.

Gill Heath said:

Staffordshire’s is the second-largest economy in the West Midlands and the success of our many small and medium-sized enterprises play a big role in that.”

The announcement comes weeks after the county council confirmed it had secured £500,000 funding from the European Union to boost its tourism industry.

The money will be used by Staffordshire County Council to promote an increase in the number of tourism businesses in the area and particularly the number of beds for visitors.

Notes to editors

The Staffordshire LEADER programme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.