The consultation process identified a need to provide assistance to communities to implement and deliver a range of essential services that are responsive to identified local needs and are valuable for residents, the wider community and make a contribution to the local rural economy, which underpins and allows growth. Communities require both practical and financial support in order to make this happen.
The need to support communities to increase their capacity and develop locally driven solutions was felt to be of great importance, but given the fundamentally different approach that will be required under this Programme, consideration has to be made regarding the extent to which this allows projects to achieve the required economic outputs.
Scope of Programme Activity
The Rural Services priority will operate as an open call which looks for applications which will support new or existing businesses providing for the needs of local communities.
The Programme is looking to support applications for capital projects which will achieve one or more of the following:
- Physical investment in un-used or under-used buildings;
- Support for existing or emerging community enterprise;
- Activity directly related to the development and delivery of local services and facilities; or
- Streetscape or public realm projects where they are clearly to be the catalyst for further investment.
Eligible applicants under the Rural Services priority are:
- New or existing micro or small businesses;
- Rural community organisations;
- Public or private entities working in partnership; and
- Local authorities.
- Minimum £5,000, no upper limit
- Grants of up to 40% towards eligible costs for commercial activities, or up to 95% for non profit making applicants (subject to state aid restrictions).