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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Grants/Funding

Cash flow support for new sheep farming entrants

New entrants to the sheep farming industry can now benefit from a scheme to provide cash flow support.
British Wool has introduced an initiative that will provide eligible producers with upfront payments worth 100% of their annual clip value for the first two years of the scheme. Thereafter, producers will move towards standard payments over a six year period before they align with the standard payment scheme.
Successful applicants will also receive a priority wool intake and grading service through British Wool’s nationwide depot network.
Eligible producers should have kept sheep for fewer than five years and must not have previously been registered with British Wool.

Telephone: 01274 688666
Website: Open Website

New Countryside Stewardship offers to boost biodiversity

Four new Countryside Stewardship offers have been introduced for farmers and land managers to boost biodiversity and help protect and enhance farmland and the countryside.
The four new offers are Online Arable Offer, Lowland Grazing Offer, Upland Offer and Mixed Farming Offer.
Significant improvements have been made to the scheme to make it simpler and easier for farmers & land managers to apply.
The deadline for submitting your application for each of the four offers is 31st July.

Telephone: 0208 026 1089
Website: Open Website

Worcestershire LEADER grants

Grants ranging from £2,500 to £50,000 remain available for farming businesses looking to develop in Worcestershire.
Your idea must make a contribution to the rural economy; either directly by creating or safeguarding jobs and/or growing a business or indirectly through activity that will make a difference to the local economy and meet one of the below priorities.
• Support for and the development of micro and small enterprises, including farm diversifications
• Support for and the development of agricultural and horticultural businesses
• Support for and the development of forestry businesses
• Developing local distinctiveness: Support for rural tourism
• Enhancing, restoring and upgrading community, cultural and natural heritage
• Provision of rural services
Closing date for applications is 25 May 2018.
If you have any questions please speak with your local NFU county team or contact Katie Ainsworth.

Contact: Katie Ainsworth
Telephone: 01905 843992
Website: Open Website

Launch of Water Environment Grant

A new grant scheme to improve the water environment has been launched by Defra, NE and EA.
The scheme will provide £9 million a year for the next three years to applicants applying for funding to works to restore the water environment (rivers, lakes, canals, wetlands etc). Potential projects could include river restoration, removal of obstacles to help fish passage or actions to improve the water quality.
WEG is now open to eligible applicants, which includes farmers, until 11 May. Grants will be determined by EA and NE, funding will be awarded in August 2018.
Successful applicants will be expected to start their projects before March 2019, with completion dates of March 2021. The applicants guide can be found on the website below.

Website: Open Website

Severn Trent Cash for Catchments

Severn Trent are launching a new scheme called Cash for Catchments, providing funding for water environment improvements. These could include, river restoration, improving river water quality and control of invasive non-native species. Applications are open to NGOs, land owners, farmers, and community groups. Applicants will be invited to submit projects and the best of them will go be invited to present their project to a panel.
The application form, along with Term’s and Condition’s documents can be found on the website below.
Entries will open on 3 April and will close at 5pm on 30 May.

Website: Open Website

Stewardship moves to the Rural Payments Agency from Natural England

Countryside and Environmental Stewardship is moving to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The government says that centralising scheme delivery under the accredited Paying Agency for England that manages the Rural Payments System will be more joined up for staff and customers.
Natural England and the RPA will work together to provide advice on the schemes to customers, and Natural England will continue to provide ecological advice on the ground.

£90 million of new funding to access innovative new technology

It is predicted that 60 percent more food will be needed worldwide by 2050 to feed the expanding global population. To meet this demand, government has announced £90 million of new funding to help businesses, researchers and industry to transform food production.
The fund will go towards 4 areas to:
create ‘Translation Hubs’ that bring together businesses, farmers and academics to collaborate on research projects
support innovation accelerators to explore the potential of new technology and speed up commercialisation
launch a new research programme to identify and build on export opportunities overseas
fund demonstrator projects that show how innovative agri-tech ideas can be applied in real-world settings
Further information can be gained on the website below

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Launch of Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme

George Eustice (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food), has announced the launch of the Countryside Productivity Small Grant (CPSG) Scheme.
• The initial offer is for £15 million of small grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 for a range of equipment and technology to be used on farms
• Applications are due in by 14th March 2018.
• Applications will be scored after the closing date and applicants should be notified soon afterwards as to whether they have been successful.
• Full details are on the Countryside Productivity page on Gov.uk.
• The page includes links to the Handbook and a portal to a very simple online application form.
• Applying online takes just a few minutes.
• Grants are available for a specified range of equipment.
Full information can be found on the link below.

Website: Open Website

Update on BPS payments

While the RPA continue to pay farmers, those who have not received their money by the end of March will be offered a bridging payment of 75% in April, Farming Minister George Eustice announced on Friday 26 January.
More than 93% of farmers in England signed up to the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) have now received their payment. Payments made to date are worth more than £1.5 billion.

Apply now for Mid and Higher Tier applications starting on 1 January 2019

The application window is now open for Countryside Stewardship Mid and Higher Tier agreements that start on 1 January 2019 and the Hedgerow and Boundary Grants.
In Mid-Tier there are new wildlife offers available which have a simplified application process. These offers are available for arable, lowland grazing, mixed and uplands.  
There are nine more options available in Mid-Tier for 2018 applications. There will be additional steps the applicant needs to take to use these options in an agreement.
The maximum grant for Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant has been increased to £10,000 from £5,000 last year.
The deadline for Mid-Tier applications will be earlier than last year at 31 July. This is to enable agreement offers to be made by the end of the year.
Rural Development Programme (RDP) funding must not pay twice for the same activity (known as double funding). For this reason it is not possible to overlap CS options and Ecological Focus Area (EFA) options in agreements starting January 1 2019. However, co-location in the same parcel, where the options do not overlap is permitted.
Mid-Tier Timescales and Deadlines
Can apply for the arable offer online from 20 February
Request application packs by 31 May
Final date to request endorsement by Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer or other adviser to approve specific options 31 May
Deadline for Mid-Tier applications including all supporting evidence by 31 July
Agreement start 1 January 2019
Higher Tier Deadlines
Request application packs by 9 March
Deadline to submit initial application 13 April
Notified of success or failure by early June
Negotiations on scheme detail concluded by mid-September
Agreements start 1 January 2019
Hedgerow and Boundary Grants
Applications can be made online, paper or email. Deadline 30 April
Countryside Stewardship – Woodland Creation
Deadline 16 February
Further details are available on the link below.

Website: Open Website

CS Woodland Creation Grant closes on 16 February

If you are considering an application to the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant you can apply until the 16 February. For more information and to download your application form please see the Woodland Support page the link below.

Website: Open Website

Forestry Innovation Fund is launched

A new part of the Forestry Innovation Fund is available from Monday 15 January 2018. The aim is to encourage and broaden innovation in forestry in England, from woodland planning to manufacture and use of wood products; it will support forestry related research and development projects.
Projects should target opportunities for significant improvement in productivity and in cutting-edge innovation with substantial potential for encouraging growth in the forestry sector in England.
Up to six projects will be supported to a maximum grant value of £50,000 each. For more details of the application process access the link below.

Website: Open Website

Defra announces £40 million grant scheme for investment in farm technology

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has today announced the opening of a £40 million grants scheme for investment in farming technology and equipment.
On 29 July, Lord Gardiner announced a £200 million package of RDPE funding to support growth of rural businesses.
This included a package of £120m under Countryside Productivity for capital grants to increase farmers’ productivity and help them prepare for future challenges. Half of this was for large capital grants and half for small capital grants.
The first two large grants, Improving Forestry Productivity and Water Resource Management were made available from Monday 31 July. The two remaining CP large grants are being launched and full details published on gov.uk on Monday 30 October. The Countryside Productivity landing page is being updated to include links to the applicant handbooks, application forms and applicant guidance for the two new grants that are:
• Adding value to Agri-food products – grants to fund projects that improve the processing of primary agricultural products (i.e. Annex I products), benefiting the Agri-food supply chain which will in turn improve farm productivity.
• Improving Farm Productivity – grants to fund projects that improve farm productivity through the use of robotic equipment and systems to aid crop and livestock production; increasing the use of renewable energy produced on farm; the use of LED wavelength controlled lighting to aid crop production; more efficient use of livestock slurries and manures, and digestate.
Each theme or type of grant has its own handbook which includes:
• Details of the Countryside Productivity scheme – sets out how the national scheme context, how we manage the grants and deadlines;
• Details of the grants – contains details on who can apply, what the grants are for, how much they are and examples of projects;
• Who can apply – explains what type and size of business can apply for the grants and who can’t apply;
• Preparing an application – sets out the priorities for funding, how we access applications and what we look for;
• Funding and costs – explains how much funding is available, how applicants pay for the project, what the eligible costs are and what isn’t eligible; and
• How to apply – provides an overview of the application forms, what we need to see, how to submit an application and what happens after an application is submitted.
The handbooks will be available as a pdf, on a single landing page which will be easy for potential applicants to find and will hold all the information that the applicant needs. There is also an option on the 03000 helpline number for applicants who need further support and a specific inbox has been set up for applicants to email enquiries to.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Gigabit Voucher Scheme for small and medium sized businesses

If you are a small or medium-sized business, you may be able to get a grant of up to £3,000 to upgrade your business broadband to a Gigabit capable connection.
The Government is testing a new Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which will provide vouchers worth up to £3,000 to support the capital costs of getting new gigabit capable connections for businesses. Coventry and Warwickshire are one of the four pilot areas.
Suppliers will be offering vouchers worth between £500 and £3000 each to local businesses, which can then be used to pay for the installation of gigabit speed connections. The aim of the pilots is to encourage the market to extend full fibre infrastructure in the UK by increasing demand and reducing the cost to customers.
The pilot is supplier-led, meaning that customers will need to go to an approved supplier who will then deal with the administration of the scheme. Details of approved suppliers can be found at the link below.

Website: Open Website

Govt announces plans to simplify Countryside Stewardship applications

Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove has announced the broad outline of a number of new off the shelf ‘packages’ of options that farmers will be able to use to simplify applying for Countryside Stewardship. Currently Natural England has been unable to deliver agreements until many months after the agreements have already started. A new plan, intended to be introduced in January 2018, for applications due to start on 1 January 2019, could ease some of the application complications. However the packages do limit choices and therefore may not be for or appeal to all farmers.
The intention is to offer a designated suite of the current options in each of four packages: arable, lowland grazing livestock, mixed arable and lowland grazing livestock, and Uplands. Holdings with designated sites (e.g. SSSIs) would not be eligible to use these packages. The packages would streamline the record keeping requirements and drop the need for an Historic Environment Record. However land used in packages cannot then be used for meeting greening/EFA requirements. Correctly completed applications would gain agreement without the competitive element of the main scheme.
Current Defra thinking is to make the arable package application only available online. Anyone wishing to include capital items in their scheme would not be eligible to use packages and will have to go through the current full mid-tier or higher-tier application process.
Further news will be posted once it is available.

Extended deadline for EAFRD Growth Programme Grants

You could be eligible for a Growth Programme grant if your business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy. There are 3 types of grant:
Business development
Food processing
Rural tourism infrastructure
There is a total of £165.3m of grant funding available across the three offers
The minimum grant for business development has been reduced to £35,000 (correcting the mistake in the original guidance booklet).
The deadline for expressions of interest has been extended to 31st May 2018. However, nationally, there are now more projects in the pipeline than funding available so the message to businesses and other organisations is to still apply early.
Full details are on the website below.

Website: Open Website

HS2 Woodland Fund

The HS2 Woodland Fund provides grant payments for restoring plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) and/or creating new native woodland. Funding is available for a range of capital items, paying 100% of the associated standard cost, with a maintenance payment also available for woodland creation. £1 million of funding is due to open for applications in January 2018 and will close in April 2020, subject to remaining budget availability. There are no application windows.
Further information is available on the website below.

Website: Open Website

2016 Countryside Stewardship capital works

2016 Countryside Stewardship agreement holders have until 31 December 2017 to complete the capital works programme. Claims for the work must be made by 31 March 2018.

CS Woodland Creation Grant news

Countryside Stewardship (CS) Woodland Creation Grant supports the creation of new woodland with a focus on meeting local biodiversity and/or water objectives. Applications must be at least 3ha (1ha for water objectives).
CS Woodland creation provides 80% of the standard costs of capital items for planting and protecting new woodland, capped at £6,800 per ha. Additionally for 2018 applicants can receive 40% of actual costs for forest roads and tracks. If you’re eligible, a supporting maintenance grant of £200 per hectare for 10 years may also be available.
If you’ve downloaded an application form contact your Woodland Officer for advice on preparing your application. You can submit your applications from the 2 January to 16 February 2018.

Woodland Carbon Fund update

The Woodland Carbon Fund, designed to provide capital funding for the creation of new, productive woodland has been updated to include both a second stage payment and funding for forest roads and tracks. This sits alongside the recent improvements made to the Fund of a reduction in the minimum threshold from 30ha down to 10ha and the ability to retain BPS payments (subject to eligibility criteria).
The following payment rates and caps apply;
• Standard Planting Rate – applies to most proposals unless in “priority places” (see below). Provides 80% of the standard costs of capital items for planting and protecting new woodland, capped at £6,800 per ha;
• Priority Places Planting Rate – applies to proposals in peri-urban areas that also allow permissive access to the public on foot. Provides 100% of the standard costs of capital items for planting and protecting new woodland, capped at £8,500 per ha;
• One off second stage payment in year 5 of £1000 per hectare (gross including up to 20% open space) for successful establishment of the newly planted woodland;
• Funding for recreational infrastructure such as footpaths at 80% of actual costs, capped at 10% of the total of an individual application;
• Funding for forest roads and tracks to support improved access for establishment, maintenance and future harvesting paid at 40% of actual costs.

Countryside Productivity Scheme

The RDPE Countryside Productivity Scheme provides funding for projects in England which improve productivity in the farming and forestry sectors and help create jobs and growth in the rural economy. It is administered by the Rural Payments Agency. Under the RDPE Countryside Productivity Scheme, there are grants for: Water resource management and reservoirs Improving forestry productivity.

Website: Open Website

Financial Discipline Mechanism refunds

A large proportion of farmers claiming BPS should receive Financial Discipline Mechanism (FDM) refunds from mid-September. This payment is not connected to any ongoing BPS correction activity, although the level of payment itself is based on the value of the 2016 BPS payment. The monies originate from reductions taken from the 2015 BPS payments.
RPA will communicate the FDM reimbursement payment by sending a remittance advice after the payment has been issued which will show the payment is due to an FDM reimbursement.

Countryside Woodland Creation Grant for 2018 is launched

The Forestry Commission has announced the launch of Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant 2018. Guidance has been made available much earlier this year to allow applicants more time to plan applications. The manual, application forms, and how to guide are all available on the Woodland Support pages of GOV.UK now and applicants are encouraged to begin building their applications this autumn.
You can apply for grants of up to £6,800 per hectare to support ground preparation, tree planting, fencing and tree protection and initial maintenance, plus an option to subsequently apply for a maintenance payment for up to 10 years, covering the initial period while trees get established.

Website: Open Website

Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund

The facilitation fund, part of Countryside Stewardship (CS), is to encourage farmers to coordinate their environmental improvements at a landscape scale. The 2017 facilitation fund has just opened and closes for applications on 14 November.
Being part of a CS facilitation fund group increases your chances of getting offered a CS mid or higher tier agreement. By participating in a group you increase your mid and higher tier application score. A facilitator can access funds on a competitive basis if they can show that the farmers in their group will be undertaking new activities and that these farmers support the application.
The land area of the group has to be spread across a minimum of four adjoining or largely adjoining holdings and normally cover at least 2,000 ha. The area can be smaller for some environmental reasons.
The application process is competitive. All applications will be scored by a panel consisting of representatives from Natural England, Forestry Commission and Environment Agency.
For information the 2017 scheme guidance and application forms is available here

Website: Open Website

£300m loan boost from HSBC

HSBC is committing a £300 million lending fund to support agricultural businesses in the UK. This latest initiative forms part of its fund to help SMEs across the UK grow and prosper, both at home and internationally.
Barclays Bank also confirmed earlier this year that it was doubling its farming fund to £200 million. Loan periods are between 1 – 24 months. Their Rural Project Loan helps farmers with new income streams and repayments can be spread over 1 – 25 years.

Change to Woodland Creation threshold

The threshold for applications to the Woodland Creation Planning Grant has been lowered to 10 hectares. At least one woodland block within an application must be of 10 ha or more in size, with additional blocks being at least 5 ha in size. This means that if your application is less than 15 ha in total, it must be formed of a single woodland block. Visit the website below for more information.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Updates to digital maps

The RPA is currently updating digital maps and will use this latest mapping data when calculating BPS 2017 payments. Claimants of Environmental / Countryside Stewardship and Forestry Legacy Schemes may need to review the changes to make sure their applications and/ or agreements are correct.

Funding for farm reservoirs and forestry equipment announced

Defra parliamentary under-secretary Lord Gardiner launched a £200million grant package as part of the Rural Development Programme (RDP).
Lord Gardiner announced that the first grant funding to become available as part of the package will be for farm reservoirs and forestry equipment. Applications opened on 31 July. The new package also features funding for broadband, rural business support, on-farm processing, arable and horticultural productivity, and resource efficiency.
More information about the scheme rules are available in the handbook below.
Applications close on 3 April 2018.

Website: Open Website

Small Dairy Farmers Scheme

The RPA have published an update on the payment rate for the Small Dairy Farmers Scheme:
• A total of £12,325,532.18 will be paid under the scheme giving a pence per litre rate of 1.02078
• Of all the eligible England applicants, 57% (around 1,600 dairy farmers) will receive the top payment of £5,103.90 for the maximum 500,000 litres
• Over 84% of English claimants will receive £3,000 or more.

Woodland Grant Scheme confirmed for 2018

Forestry Minister Thérèse Coffey has confirmed that a £13 million fund to help landowners plant more trees to protect wildlife, boost the timber sector and reduce flood risk will soon open for applications.
Farmers, foresters and land managers across the UK will be able to apply for up to £6,800 per hectare to plant, weed and protect trees when application forms for the next round of the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant are made available in September.

Website: Open Website

Natural England refreshes its livestock recording templates

Natural England has updated the templates for recording livestock to make them more user friendly. Therefore the webpage has been refreshed. Specific livestock record keeping applies to CS and ELS/HLS agreements that started on or after 1 January 2013.

Website: Open Website

CFE advises voluntary maintenance of expiring environmental schemes

The Campaign for the Farmed Environment is encouraging farmers who are in Environmental Stewardship schemes to voluntarily maintain conservation work when the scheme has expired. Voluntary management may assist such farmers to benefit from any future schemes, post Brexit, and returning such land to production will undo the investment of time and money already made, says CFE.

New funding for fledgling agricultural businesses

Briefing Media, Farmers Guardian’s parent company, has announced there is now more than £20 million of funding available for fledgling agricultural businesses through its Agri-Innovation Den competition.
The Mulberry Green Fund is a venture capital fund investing in early and growth-stage companies in the green-tech and agri-tech sectors. It invests in UK-based companies which are undervalued in the domestic market but have the potential to grow substantially overseas.
It typically makes individual investments of between £250,000-£1m. The competition, which is open now for entries, invites anyone with a ground-breaking agricultural business idea to pitch Dragon’s Den-style for a share of the investment prize fund in exchange for a stake in their business.
In addition, there is a guaranteed Briefing Media promotional package worth £5,000 for every finalist, as well as ongoing help and business support from our esteemed judging panel.
Closing date is 7 July 2017. Visit the website below for details of how to enter.

Website: Open Website

Farmers as Producers of Clean Water

Following a very successful start in North Warwickshire last year, Severn Trent have re-opened this scheme which rewards farmers for producing cleaner run off from their land and improving local water quality.
The Scheme’s objective is to reduce the amount of Metaldehyde (an active ingredient found in some slug pellets) found in water courses.
Farmers can earn up to £8/Ha on winter wheat/ oilseed rape grown within the catchment area.
To find out if you are eligible or for more information please contact Una McBride.
The application window closes on 31st August 2017.

Contact: Una McBride
Telephone: 0781184761

Mid Tier and Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship

The third year of the Countryside Stewardship scheme opened on 10 March. This is a targeted scheme for farmers and land managers which funds projects to restore habitats, improve water quality and woodland, reduce flood risk, protect landscapes, and provide year-round food and shelter for pollinators, birds and other wildlife.
Improvements have been made to the application process this year to make it easier to apply, including simplifying evidence requirements for claims and applications wherever possible. Additional support and advice is also available from Natural England.
Countryside Stewardship grants will be offered to those who propose to make the best environmental improvements within their local area.
Application packs can be requested from Natural England. Those thinking of applying for the Higher Tier, including woodland support, will need to have submitted an initial application by 05 May 2017. Higher Tier application packs will need to be requested no later than 13 April. Mid Tier application packs will need to be requested no later than 31 July 2017 so Natural England can send out the maps and evidence requirements in time for farmers and land managers to develop their application and submit it by 30 September 2017.

Contact: None
Telephone: 0300 060 3900
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Small dairy farmer scheme launched

Defra has launched the third part of their EU Exceptional Aid scheme, namely a small dairy farmer scheme. The scheme will provide a one off payment to eligible farmers who choose to apply. The scheme is England only and has two eligibility requirements:
• Annual milk production of less than 1 million litres in the April 2015 – April 2016 milk year.
• Still in milk production.
Currently the scheme is to be funded by £8.5million from the EU Exceptional aid scheme but this could increase dependent on the uptake of the other two schemes (ammonia reduction scheme and risk management training). The RPA will not know the rate per litre until after the closing date of the scheme (midnight on 31 May) as payment is dependent on the number of applicants.
The application process is simple – the form can be found online and farmers will need to submit proof of the volume of milk they produced in the last milk year (an annual milk cheque will suffice).

Website: Open Website

Grow Your Business with Aston Programme for Small Business Growth

The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth has been developed to support early stage business leaders, to achieve sustainable growth through a series of workshops, one-to-one support and networking. It is fully funded by Aston University and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The six-month programme provides practical workshops taught by experts in SME leadership and management and one-to-one support from an experienced mentor. It is for SMEs who have an operational address within the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham and Solihull or The Marches (transitional area only) LEP regions.
Open to SMEs and Social Enterprises, 28 business leaders from a range of sectors will complete the programme together, sharing their experiences and strategies, building a supportive network and working with an experienced business mentor to tackle any issues or challenges SMEs face as they grow.
We are now searching for SMEs and Social Enterprises who have been trading for at least 12 months and have at least one FTE employee (this can include yourself). The programme is suitable for business that are in their early-stage with identifiable growth potential.
Application Deadline – 5th June 2017
Cohort 2, will commence in September 2017 until February 2018 where you will attend 9 workshops over the duration of 6 months. You will start working on your business straight away and will finish the programme with a growth strategy that you have written for your own business that will provide you with an action plan to achieve your growth goals
We will be holding a breakfast meetings on Thursday 25 May at a local growth hub where you will learn more about the programme and how it supports early-stage businesses. One-to-One discussion and application support will be offered there and then on the day.
All of the 2015 participants surveyed after completing the programme are anticipating significant growth in turnover with 60% expecting turnover growth in excess of 200% and 48% also projecting employee numbers to grow in excess of 200% by 2018
Find out more and to learn if you are eligible for this programme, click here.
Alternatively; you can contact the team by email or telephone for further discussions.

Telephone: Tel. 0121 204 3225
Website: Open Website

BPS Bridging Payments

At 2017 NFU Conference, the Secretary of State announced that bridging payments of 75% would be paid to those not issued a full 2016 BPS payment by the end of March 2017.
Letters have been issued to all farmers who have not received a BPS 2016 payment as of 20 March. They are advised that they will be due to receive a bridging payment if are not issued with a full BPS payment by 31 March.
Bridging payments will be issued from Monday 3 April onwards and the anticipation is the majority of these to be paid within the next two weeks. Bridging payments will be calculated at 75% of their BPS 2016 claim value on the day of calculation

Shall I apply for a Woodland Improvement via Higher Tier?

Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier support is competitive and all applications will be scored on value for money and how well they would serve Biodiversity and Water priorities. These remain unchanged from 2016 and, for Woodland Improvement, include:
Priority Habitats
Priority Species
Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAW’s) Restoration
Water Quality
The Land Information Search (LIS) will help determine whether your woodland lies within one or more of these priority areas.
Eligibility Requirements
There are a number of specific eligibility requirements for Higher Tier. If an applicant already has an Environmental Stewardship agreement covering some of their land they cannot apply for Countryside Stewardship options or capital items on the same land parcels.  Also, Countryside Stewardship options cannot be located within land parcels covered by some English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) agreements. 
You must have a Forestry Commission approved UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) compliant Woodland Management Plan to be eligible to apply for Higher Tier Woodland Improvement. If you do not currently have an approved plan, consider using Countryside Stewardship support (via the Woodland Management Plan capital grant) to put one in place – so that you will be ready to apply for support for Woodland Improvement in 2018.

Fully funded training to invest in your workforce

Would you like the opportunity improve your staff productivity, increase staff morale and receive support from professionals who will help you grow your business?
Inspire 2 Independence is working in partnership with Serco on the delivery of Skills Support for the Workforce across Coventry & Warwickshire. The funding is available to local businesses within Coventry & Warwickshire with 100% funding of a range of units and qualifications aimed at up-skilling your workforce. No financial contribution is required from your business to access this training opportunity, all that is required is a commitment to the development of your staff. We also offer free first aid and health and safety training to all businesses.
The training can be bespoke and tailored to each business and individual learner therefore we have designed our delivery to allow for part-time and flexible employees to also still benefit from this inward investment. As opposed to only delivering full qualifications we are also able to deliver standalone units in the areas that are of most value to your business, thus decreasing any unnecessary study time and allowing for both established staff and new additions to your team to receive relevant new skills quickly.
Our offer of training is fully bespoke, giving you the option to request any units/qualifications that you feel would increase productivity within your workplace. Our Employer Engagement Consultant will meet with you to complete a Training Needs Analysis to highlight the key training areas in which you would most benefit from. The information from this analysis will be used by our dedicated Skills Tutors to design a tailored package for your business. We also run free first aid courses twice a month every month. Other courses include:
Retail
Customer Service
Team Leading
Management
Business Administration
For further information please contact your i2i representative today.

Telephone: 07850 204799

Greening requirements for 2017

Greening supports farmers to adopt and maintain practices that help meet national environment and climate goals. Greening payments account for approximately 30% of the total payment you will receive for claiming under the BPS. If you fail to comply with the greening rules, then you could lose some or all of your greening payments under BPS. Please be aware that, from 2017, reductions in greening payments for failure to comply with the rules can also be accompanied by administrative penalties proportional to the severity and scope of the non-compliance.

New form to raise BPS issues

The RPA has developed a new way to deal with cases of unreported BPS 2015 / 2016 payment issues, which includes an enquiry form for farmers to complete and send to the RPA.
For further information and to download a copy of the form please use the link below.

Website: Open Website

New RDPE Growth Programme is launched

The new RDPE Growth Programme was launched by DEFRA on the 25th January 2017 and provides £120 million of EU funding for projects in England which create jobs and growth in the rural economy. There are 3 types of grant:
Business Development
Food Processing
Rural Tourism Infrastructure
The grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which is part of the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF). The RPA delivers the grants working with ESIF sub committees in Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas.
Farmers, growers, packers, processors and food and drink manufactures are eligible for funding providing they are able to invest in capital projects that will create jobs and deliver growth to their businesses. Applicants to the Business Development and Rural Tourism grants must be either micro or small businesses. Applicants to the Food processing grant can be micro, small or medium sized businesses. It is important you check the size of your business with eligibility criteria.
Eligible expenditure is different for each grant, but is summarised below;
Business Development – Construction or improving buildings which will create jobs and growth, including buying new equipment and machinery.
Food Processing – Construction or improving food processing buildings. Buying new food and drink grading, packing and processing equipment and machinery.
Rural Tourism Infrastructure – Capital expenditure on tourism infrastructure, including new accommodation, equipment and attractions.
For Business Development and Rural Tourism Grants the maximum grant rate is 40% up to £170,000. For Food Processing Grants the maximum grant rate is 40% up to £ 1 million. The minimum grant for all three grant schemes is £35,000.
How to apply
The application process is competitive. This means grants are not awarded automatically to an applicant. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will assess all expressions of interest (EOI) to see which best meet the criteria. There is a rigorous 2-part application process (starting with submitting an ‘expression of interest’) to tell RPA about the work you’re doing and how the grant could help you with it.
If the RPA assesses that your expression of interest is suitable, they will invite you to submit a full application. The deadline for Expressions of Interest is the 31st December 2018 and the final deadline to claim grant money is the 31st December 2019, which means the RPA are under significant pressure to spend this European funding, before the UK leaves the EU.
Applicants must be aware that they cannot spend money on projects until they receive an offer letter from the RPA/DEFRA. Grants are not awarded retrospectively.

Website: Open Website

Rural Payments Agency pays 91% of Basic Payment Scheme claims in December

Over 78,000 (91%) farmers in England received their 2016 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) money by the end of December.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:
“I know how important these payments are to farmers and I am pleased that the RPA has surpassed its target of making 90% of payments by the end of December. This is good progress but both Mark Grimshaw and I are clear that the Agency will remain fully focussed on processing claims as quickly as possible until everyone is paid.”
RPA Chief Executive Mark Grimshaw said:
“We understand how important BPS payments are to farmers and that’s why we’ve worked hard to get money into bank accounts in the first month of the payment window, injecting just over £1.4 billion into the farming and wider rural economy.
“This month we will communicate directly with those farmers who will be paid from January onwards to help them plan.” BPS payments are made direct to bank accounts so farmers should make sure RPA has the most up-to-date account details. Once a payment has been made a remittance advice is sent in the post, confirming the amount paid. More information on BPS 2016, including scheme rules and details of how payments are calculated, is available at www.GOV.UK/rpa/bps2016.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth LEADER Programme

Helping local rural businesses grow
Farming Productivity Grants
For farmers who are looking to invest in innovative business practices and new technologies to help them become more sustainable and productive. Grants between £2,500 – £25,000 will support three types of projects:
– a project to improve the overall performance and sustainability of an agricultural holding;
– an investment to support animal health and welfare improvements;
– or the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products.
Micro and Small Enterprise Grants
Grants of between £4,000 – £25,000 are available for businesses with under 50 employees including new businesses and social enterprises who aim to deliver a project that will have an impact on the local rural economy. This can include the creation of new jobs, increased turnover, creation of new products or use of new technologies.
Eligible activity includes:
– construction costs or establishment costs for workshops, factories, premises and facilities;
– purchasing equipment (not consumables);
– and setting up an I.T. business
Forestry Productivity Grants
Grants between £2,500 – £25,000 for private forestry holdings and micro, small or medium-sized forestry contracting businesses that aim to deliver permanent new supply chains and jobs that, at the same time, restore regular management to local woods and encourage a greater degree of added value to the timber output. Eligible activity includes:
– Investments in machinery and equipment to help the production, extraction, mobilising, processing and marketing of timber, non-timber forest products (including wild venison) and new forestry technologies;
– developing wood-fuel supply chains
– and transportation
Contact the LEADER Programme Team
Telephone: 01827 719 356
Email: leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk
Facebook: /NWHBLEADER
Website: www.englandsruralheart.org

LEADER Funding for North Warwickshire, Hinckley & Bosworth

North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth LEADER Programme
Helping local rural businesses grow
Farming Productivity Grants
For farmers who are looking to invest in innovative business practices and new technologies to help them become more sustainable and productive. Grants between £2,500 – £25,000 will support three types of projects:
• a project to improve the overall performance and sustainability of an agricultural holding;
• an investment to support animal health and welfare improvements;
• or the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products.
Micro and Small Enterprise Grants
Grants of between £4,000 – £25,000 are available for businesses with under 50 employees including new businesses and social enterprises who aim to deliver a project that will have an impact on the local rural economy. This can include the creation of new jobs, increased turnover, creation of new products or use of new technologies.
Eligible activity includes:
• construction costs or establishment costs for workshops, factories, premises and facilities;
• purchasing equipment (not consumables);
• and setting up an I.T. business
Forestry Productivity Grants
Grants between £2,500 – £25,000 for private forestry holdings and micro, small or medium-sized forestry contracting businesses that aim to deliver permanent new supply chains and jobs that, at the same time, restore regular management to local woods and encourage a greater degree of added value to the timber output. Eligible activity includes:
• Investments in machinery and equipment to help the production, extraction, mobilising, processing and marketing of timber, non-timber forest products (including wild venison) and new forestry technologies;
• developing wood-fuel supply chains
• and transportation
Contact the LEADER Programme Team
Telephone: 01827 719 356
Email: leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk
Facebook: /NWHBLEADER
Website: www.englandsruralheart.org

WRAP On-farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund

The On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund from WRAP is to help farmers in England get financial support to build small-scale AD plants on their farms.
WRAP understands that the main barriers to developing anaerobic digestion (AD) on farms are:
Access to finance
Availability of reference sites for technologies and case studies
Demonstration of the benefits of AD
The potential high cost of technology
To address these barriers and encourage the uptake of small-scale on-farm AD in the UK WRAP has developed a programme to help farms access finance, provide case studies and demonstration information and provide support for farmers who want to use AD on their farm.
The fund will be available to farms in England, that have access to slurries or manures; and who wish to build AD plants producing up to 250k/W of power.
The scheme is split into two parts:
a business plan grant up to £10,000 to investigate the environmental and economic potential of building an AD plant on the farm
a capital loan up to £400,000 (or a maximum of 50% of the project cost). This is available for AD plants producing up to 250kW of power.
The funding is available in England only, however if you are a farmer in another nation resources have been produced to help you through the process of feasibility and business planning.
For more information please visit the website.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

SEVERN TRENT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SCHEME – STEPS

STEPS aims to provide grants to farmers for infrastructure investments and management schemes to aid the protection of our environment. This is a voluntary scheme funded by Severn Trent Water (STW).
STEPS will pay a fixed grant price per item up to a maximum of £5000! The fixed grant price represents an estimated 50% of the total cost of the capital and land management items.
Do you qualify?
1.Check to see if your farm holding falls within an Environment Agency Safe Guard Zone (SGZ) located within the Severn Trent Water catchment area
2.Check the list of grants available to help your farm business tackle diffuse pollution from agriculture: https://www.stwater.co.uk/category/1560
3.Contact your local Severn Trent Catchment officer for more details
To check if your farm falls within a SGZ catchment please contact your local catchment advisor:
North Warwickshire:
Una McBride
07811847161
(Bourne, Blythe, Haseley Springs Catchments)
South Warwickshire/ Northamptonshire:
Ben Smith
07710095554
(Upper Avon and Leam Catchment)
The STEPS application period is open from 1st January 2016 and closes on 18th March 2016 – Don’t miss your chance to receive up to £5000!

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

1.4m now available to boost local businesses

A new scheme, aimed at boosting the rural economy across the North Warwickshire and Hinckley & Bosworth, has officially been launched.
The two Councils have secured £1.416 million of European funding through the LEADER Programme (2015-2019). LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
Around 40 local businesses and organisations attended the launch event at Bosworth Hall Hotel to find out more about the funding available. The event was followed by an opportunity for people to discuss potential ideas with the LEADER project team.
The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can demonstrate a benefit to the local rural economy. To be successful, applications must contribute to the creation of jobs or the development of businesses in the rural areas.
The Chair of the Local Action Group (LAG), Sharon Earp is an active member of the Hinckley and Bosworth Tourism Partnership and Leicestershire Tourism Partnership and runs her own award winning tourism business. Sharon said :
“We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the funding, and are confident that it will make a real difference to the longevity, sustainability and success of the rural economy in this wonderful area”.
The first call for applications for funding, which opened on the 16 November 2015, is for projects from farmers, foresters and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The deadline for outline applications in this first round is the 4 January 2016. Further applications to deliver projects relating to rural services, tourism, cultural and heritage activities will be invited from next year.
To discuss a potential project idea or to receive an outline application form, contact the LEADER Programme Team at North Warwickshire Borough Council, on 01827 719356 or email leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk Alternatively visit the Facebook page at: /NWHBLEADER

Tourism funding available to support festivals and events in Warwickshire

Warwickshire County Council has underlined its commitment to supporting tourism and culture by making a £75,000 grant fund available to organisations planning to hold events or festivals throughout the county.
The Tourism Event Funding Scheme has been devised as part of a new three-year work programme to support tourism and cultural activity across Warwickshire. Launched at the end of July, the first deadline for applications is Friday 18th September.
The scheme is designed to support those organising events and festivals and encourage them to evaluate what they do to become better equipped to gain future sponsorship and funding and sustain events for the longer term.
Any organisation or group interested in applying for a grant can find full details at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tourism.

Update on the new Countryside Stewardship Grants

Applications for Countryside Stewardship (Higher and Mid tiers) agreements that would start on 1 Jan 2016 are still due to be accepted from 1st July through to the end of September. Natural England will be actively engaging with landowners likely to be eligible for the Higher tier as soon as the application process is confirmed.

Countryside Stewardship / CSF Capital Grants

The Catchment Sensitive Farming Capital Grants have now been rolled into the Countryside Stewardship scheme and are available either as part of a Mid Tier application or in some cases a standalone Water Grant.
The application period is now open and will run up until 30th September for agreements to start on 1st January 2016. Certain options will require endorsement by a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer and are only available to farms that have been identified as high priority for water quality issues within the Wye and Teme catchments.
More information on the Mid Tier options and items available can be found at
www.gov.uk/countryside-stewardship-grants
If you are interested in applying for Mid Tier or the water grants, in the first instance please call: 0300 060 3900 or email: enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk to request an application pack and to find out whether or not your farm is
a priority for water quality.

Businesses thrive with Rural Growth Network support

Rural businesses throughout Warwickshire are thriving thanks to the support and grant-funding of Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.
So far more than 500 businesses have been supported by the programme and over 120 people helped to start a business.
This continues the eye-catching success of Warwickshire Rural Growth Network, one of only five Rural Growth Networks being piloted in the country.
Working on behalf of the network, Warwickshire County Council administers the funding which comes from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rural Development Programme for England which is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and the Government Equalities Office on behalf of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Expert advice and support is available to rural businesses in any sector and people looking to start their own new business. And, with such a diverse wealth of expertise within Warwickshire’s business community, that support has been accessed by a vast range of enterprises.
From manufacturing to retail and to health and social work; from science and technology to the arts and digital media; from education and construction to agriculture, businesses have either been started up or enabled to grow thanks to WRGN support.
A major strand of that support comes through Micro Enterprise Grants which have underpinned many success stories in the last two years and continue to help small rural business become established or expand. The grants have been accessed through both the Rural Development Programme for England, a seven-year programme (2007–2013) funded jointly by the EU, through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the UK Government and directly through the Rural Growth Network’s own Micro Enterprise Grant programme.
In the last two years MEGs have created or safeguarded 275 jobs with grants handed out totalling £640,000 with a leverage of over £1,100,000.
Among businesses to take advantage of a Micro Enterprise Grant is Wolston-based industrial design company Smallfry, whose managing director Steve May-Russell has been short-listed for the Institute of Directors’ West Midlands Director of the Year Award.
Steve sought support for a very specific objective – and is delighted that he did as a £12,444 Micro Enterprise Grant enabled him to purchase a rapid prototype machine with obvious benefits to business growth.
“The machine was clearly going to benefit our business,” said Steve, “but it was quite a significant investment for a small business so something to think about carefully.
“Basically, we just needed a little nudge and that’s what we got when we found out that the grant might be available. It was real surprise to get a call from a colleague suggesting we look into it. I’m very glad we did.”
For more information on Warwickshire Rural Growth Network please go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork or call 01926 412709.

Contact: Rural Growth Network
Telephone: 01926 412709
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Barclays Renewable Energy Fund

Barclays Bank has created a £100 million fund designed to help farmers meet the costs of renewable energy initiatives via wind farms, solar panels, organic waste power and hydro plants.
Research undertaken by the bank has revealed that agricultural businesses are now keen to benefit from government support tariffs. More than a third of farmers would like to install renewable energy projects on their land during the coming year. The Barclays survey of 300 agricultural customers indicated that four out of five farmers recognise how renewable energy can save costs and 60% see it as a source of additional income. The funding provider expects around 80-90% of projects will be solar and wind farms as they are cheapest to build and their costs are forecast to drop by up to 50% in the next three to five years as demand rises and technology improves.
Eligible Activities
The loan can be used to meet the costs of renewable energy initiatives such as wind farms, solar panels, organic waste power and hydro plants.
Who Can Apply
Farmers in the UK may apply, there is no end date for applying to the fund.
For further information about this new Renewable Energy Fund, please call or visit your local branch of Barclays Bank and ask to speak to a Relationship Manager.

Contact: None
Telephone: 0800 015 4242
Website: Open Website

Funding for businesses with new ideas in rural Warwickshire

Funding is available to small or medium sized enterprises based in rural Warwickshire who are working with another similar enterprise on the development of a new product, process or service. The scheme offers two types of grants of between £3000 – £5000. This contribution must be 60% matched by the company in time or expenditure.
Revenue grants are available to assist with product development cost such as parts and materials, consultancy fees and prototyping.
Capital grants are available for expenditure on equipment, machinery or tooling.
A company will only be eligible for one grant. All the projects will be evaluated independently.
Your project must demonstrate innovation, result in a new product, process or service and provide tangible benefits for the local economy.

Contact: Judy Lambourne
Telephone: 07557 425500

HLF – Sharing Heritage Programme

This £3 million scheme is administered and provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Not for profit organisations, including community groups, social enterprises, community/parish councils and local authorities can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 for projects which make a difference to people, heritage and communities across the UK.
For further information visit the Heritage Lottery Fund website

Website: Open Website

Small loans receive financial boost

Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council have been working with local partners, the Local Enterprise Partnership and DEFRA to create an innovative scheme providing business loans to companies and individuals trading in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Loans of up to £ 50 000 are available to those businesses that it is felt will contribute towards the economic growth of the region and can satisfy an independent loans panel that they have a viable business plan.
Loans are being delivered by the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust who will normally visit applicants and assist them in preparing an application for funding.
For more information about the small business loans scheme or the Rural Growth Network you can contact either:
Contact: Rural Growth Network
Contact number: 01926 412709
Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork
Or Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust direct on
Contact: CWRT
Contact number: 0845 606 6216
Website: www.enterpriseloans.org

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Email: info@ruralhub.org.uk

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Pleasance Farm
E: henrylucas@farming.co.uk

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Jane Hampson
E: info@ruralhub.org.uk

 

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Graham Collier (Hub Deputy Chairman)
Paul Rice
Carrie Robbins
James Walton

 

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Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
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John Slee, Environmental Farming Group

 

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