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