Bidding now open for rural development grants

Bidding now open for rural development grants
22 November 2019

New and existing rural businesses have the opportunity to bid for funding as The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme is now open for applications covering the Tees Valley area until Sunday 16 February 2020.

The Programme provides grants for rural start-ups and existing businesses to purchase state of the art equipment and machinery to grow their business or open up opportunities for tourism. The minimum grant size has reduced from £35,000 to £20,000 meaning that more small or micro businesses could be eligible for a grant for their projects.

There are three categories of grant areas including business development, tourism infrastructure and food processing and the grant aims to both help create new and expand existing micro and small businesses in rural areas. Priority will be given to projects that enable farming businesses to diversify into non-agricultural activities.

The Tourism Infrastructure grant aims to develop and expand existing businesses that attract tourism to the area and encourage people to stay longer and spend more in rural areas. In addition, the category covers developing existing festivals, local crafts and music and developing infrastructure such as footpaths and cycleways.

The aim of the Food Processing grant is to support the growth of food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural products within Tees Valley, leading to job creation and developing the scope for international trade and creating employment and training opportunities for local people.

Ian Williams, Darlington Borough Council’s Director for Economic Growth said:

“There is huge potential in the borough to develop the rural economy, create more jobs and develop the visitor experience and spend in the area.

“Running a rural business brings with it unique challenges and these grants offer ways to meet and exceed these challenges allowing the rural economy to expand and reach its full potential.

“Time is of the essence and I urge anyone who meets the criteria to submit an application. Our Business Support team and TVCA are on hand to offer help and advice.”

An information event is being held on Wednesday 4 December, 1-5pm Blackwell Grange Hotel, Grange Road, Darlington, DL3 8QH for more information. To register for this event visit

Anyone wishing to apply or who would like further details can contact [email protected] or call 01325 406225