£1.25 million cash fund for projects in rural East Sussex

Projects which boost the economy in rural areas of East Sussex can benefit from the second phase of a county council funding scheme.

East Sussex County Council’s Rural Growth and Employment Fund (RuGEF) launched last year with nine organisations including businesses, local groups, a college and a district council receiving grants from a funding pot of £1 million.

The second round of applications has now opened, with £1.25 million in grants or loans on offer to projects in the Lewes, Rother and Wealden districts.

The funding, part of the council’s £6 million Economic Intervention Fund, is aimed at projects which support business growth and create new or safeguard existing jobs, and those which increase or improve business appropriate training opportunities.

Rupert Clubb, county council director of economy, transport and environment, said: “The first round of funding under RuGEF has made a real difference to businesses and organisations in rural areas of the county.

“The money on offer may be able to help a new business start up or a more established one to grow, or could be the key to unlocking more training opportunities for employees.”

The scheme offers a minimum project grant of £5,000, but it is expected the majority of grants or loans will be in the range of £25,000 to £100,000.

To be eligible, projects must meet a set of criteria including a requirement to bring benefits to the district and contribute to the economic growth of the county, to demonstrate a need for the grant or loan applied for and to be able to identify at least 50 per cent matched funding.

A full list of criteria, along with guidance notes, is now available:

Organisations wishing to bid for funding are asked to register online for an application form, returning it, and supporting documents, by email and hard copy. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 31 May 2013.

Further information

The nine projects approved for funding in the first round of RuGEF applications were:

• Beautiful Design & Print (Bexhill) – printing equipment to expand the business.

• The Fletcher Centre in Rye – to help develop a cinema and entertainment centre in Rye.

• Prince’s Trust – enterprise training and support for young people in rural districts.

• Tomorrow’s People – Heathfield Works! – for two years to support young people not in employment, education or training to develop skills and move into work.

• Tomorrow’s People – Hailsham Works! – to set up and run for three years a new project in Hailsham to support young people not in employment, education or training to develop skills and move into work.

• Heathfield Partnership – to help convert a town centre building into business units.

• Lewes District Council – enterprise and apprenticeship support scheme.

• Plumpton College – equipment to offer training and resources for dairy and forestry/woodland industries.

• Kitchenham Farm nr Battle – towards business park expansion at Pebsham Rural Business Park.