Over £500,000 still available to support rural businesses
People have until 18 July to apply for this year’s Oxfordshire LEADER’s remaining £500,000 to help support rural businesses.
So far, the scheme has been very successful in awarding £750,000 to 25 projects in the county to develop rural businesses, improve farm productivity, boost local tourism and provide essential community services.
Owners of a farm in Waterperry applied and received £65,000 to build a shop on their land. The shop has now opened and is selling meat products from the animals reared on the farm, home-made ready meals prepared in the kitchen and other locally sourced food produce.
Oxfordshire LEADER funds covered the costs of installing the shop, a catering kitchen to prepare ready meals and desserts, a butcher counter for their meat and display counters for all other produce.
Lois Selmes, owner of Waterperry Farm Shop said, “With the contribution from the LEADER fund, we have achieved our goal in opening our own farm shop to sell our premium quality beef and lamb as well as helping other local food producers. We’re incredibly proud on how ethically our animals are raised and have been delighted by how much our customers value this.”
Cllr Elizabeth Gillespie, Chairman of the Oxfordshire Local Action Group, who decide where the LEADER funds are allocated, said, “The idea to create a farm shop to market their own products, and giving space to support other local rural businesses, is something the LEADER project is always delighted to get behind and support.”
Cllr Gillespie added, “We still have £500,000 to award and are encouraging and welcoming enquiries from rural businesses, farms and communities that would like to kick start a business idea – we’d particularly like to hear from projects benefiting forestry or involving the River Thames.”
There is still time to apply with expressions of interest being accepted until 18 July. To find out more, visit www.oxfordshireleader.org.uk or contact Oxfordshire LEADER Programme Manager, Sophie Milton, by calling 01235 422245 or email@example.com.
Photograph is of Waterperry Farm Shop featuring (L-R) Garry Heath (butcher), Lois Selmes (owner of the shop) and Annie Sheehan (cook).