Applications sought for rural grant funds

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The Prince’s Countryside Fund is open for grant applications until February 21.

The fund gives out grants twice a year, and projects in rural areas across the UK can apply for funding of up to £50,000 in the spring round of funding.

Set up in 2010 by the Prince of Wales, the charity aims to improve the prospects of viability for rural communities and farm businesses. Every year the fund gives out more than £1 million and can support projects for up to three years.

The fund aims to support projects that achieve the following.

Sustaining rural communities:

Projects that deliver sustainable rural assets, businesses and services that keep isolated communities together and develop a more sustainable rural economy, or provide advice and new skills and business training that benefit the local economy.

Improving the prospects of viability for farm and rural businesses:

Projects that focus on developing stronger, more sustainable farm businesses and other rural enterprises with the aim of halting the decline of the rural economy, or that encourage local food production and short supply chains, that facilitate knowledge transfer such as farmer networks, or that provide new skills and training for rural and agricultural benefit.

Supporting aid delivery in emergency and building resilience:

Projects that support farm businesses, rural businesses and communities to plan for and recover from natural disasters such as flooding or animal disease and build resilience.

Claire Saunders, director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: ‘The 550 projects put forward to our Recharging Rural research last summer demonstrated the extraordinary breadth of ideas that communities use to build their resilience, many of which are grant can support.

‘Our grants help to support a diverse range of projects often delivered by local organisations, such as training vouchers for young farmers, equipment for local abattoirs, overheads and staffing costs for farmer-led networks, village shops and pubs, and development schemes for rural businesses. We give out more than £1 million in funding each year and are very keen to hear from projects of all types in our rural areas.’

The fund is particularly keen to hear from projects in all parts of rural Scotland.

To find out more and apply, visit www.princescountrysidefund.