European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

SELEP launched the call for applications under the EAFRD programme for the SELEP area in London on the 2nd February 2017 and is currently arranging a number of local events in East Sussex, Essex and Kent.

These events will take place as follows and if you are interested and you have a rural business, or plan to start one up in the SELEP area please sign up to whichever one is most convenient:

East Sussex 15 March 2017 - Plumpton College 2.00 – 5.00 click here for more details

Greater Essex 22 March 2017 - Chelmsford Racecourse 2.00 – 5.00 click here for more details

Kent & Medway 6 April 2017 - Kent Showground 10.00 – 1.00 click here for more details

The call for applications will focus on: Rural tourism – funding envelope £2.6million Food processing - £3.7million Business development (micro and SMEs) - £2million.

It is anticipated that the rest of the SELEP indicative funding allocation will be released later in the year.

There is an annual rolling call for applications with projects applicants free to submit their expressions of interest (EoI) to the RPA. The EoIs will be assessed by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) team and eligible projects will be submitted to the SELEP ESIF Committee for a view on the strategic fit and also their value for money. Successful projects will then progress to full application with support from the RPA.

Applications will need to refer to the sub-measure handbooks for the specific sub-measure call, SELEP ESIF Strategy and the SELEP Rural Strategy. See links on the right hand side of this page. All successful applications will be expected to create Jobs and Growth in rural areas.

News Update: Following the Autumn Statement from the Chancellor, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has agreed that national calls for application for EAFRD funding will take place in January 2017.

The precise date in January for these calls to open has yet to be confirmed but they will be annual rolling calls with a series of set deadlines. The calls will be in the following sub-measures:

• Rural business development – capital grants to rural businesses in SELEP’s key sectors

• Rural tourism infrastructure grants – create sustainable rural visitor attractions and events which focus on the promotion of local culture, heritage, environment, food and drink and create economic benefit to local business

• Food processing grants – Introduction of innovative food processing methods and capacity to increase productivity. Development of new market opportunities.

The minimum grant size will be £50,000 with the maximum varying according to the sub-measure, taking into account the limits of State Aids. Grants can be up to 40% of the total project size.

Who can apply? Small rural businesses, including farmers who want to diversify.

What are the grants for? To businesses to start up, grow and create jobs. They are capital grants for constructing or improving buildings or buying new equipment and machinery. Plus some other costs (not revenue).

The focus of EAFRD in the SE LEP ESIF Strategy is:

• Provide support for rural businesses

• Optimise the growth and development of the Agrifood sector

• Support the development of sustainable rural tourism

• Support development and provision of enhanced levels of connectivity (not including Broadband)

• Support development of a more efficient low carbon and sustainable rural economy

The Government is seeking links between the EU funds and also between the various national funding streams such as the Regional Growth Funds (RGF) and Growing Places Fund (GPF).

Further details can be found on the Government’s website under Funding Finder at www.gov.uk, including the full application forms.

SELEP has been given one of the largest EAFRD allocations in the Growth Programme - £14.5m for the period 2014-2020. The RDPE Operational Programme was agreed with the European Commission in 2015. The Programme document can be found here.

The EAFRD component of the Growth Programme is only a very small fraction (5%) of all funding available through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which also includes investment in environmental and land management schemes, LEADER and Countryside Productivity. For more information on all RDPE supported programmes, click here

For awarding funding under the EAFRD programme, the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) will manage the process for publishing calls and administering applications.

For further information please contact:

Lorraine George SELEP’s EU Strategic Funding Lead on Lorraine.George@eastsussex.gov.uk

Stuart Gibbons SELEP’s Rural Consultant on Stuart@ruralsectorsolutions.co.uk