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Funding boost available for rural businesses and organisations

A new grant scheme has launched for rural businesses and organisations based in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse.

The fund is designed to support capital projects for small businesses and community infrastructure that help to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and rural communities.

Interested parties are encouraged to submit their application before midday on Friday 24 November 2023 by visiting the South Oxfordshire District Council or Vale of White Horse District Council website.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have secured this funding through the government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) as part of the levelling up agenda.

Grant funding is available for small scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas, growing the local social economy and supporting innovation, investment in capacity building and infrastructure support for local civil society and community groups.

Example projects include the diversification of farm buildings outside of agriculture, establishment of rural community businesses and net-zero infrastructure.

Robin Bennett, South Oxfordshire District Council’s cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, said: “Whilst we are fortunate to be situated in an incredibly attractive area of natural beauty and character, the last few years have been challenging for our rural economy. This fund will provide a lifeline of crucial support to small rural businesses and organisations in South Oxfordshire – providing investment that can create jobs, support sustainable business development and innovation, and ultimately help our rural communities to prosper. I encourage eligible organisations and businesses to find out more and apply before the 24 November deadline.”

Neil Fawcett, Vale of White Horse District Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “Our rural businesses often face very specific challenges, and this grant scheme will help support them to grow and develop. In turn, this will have the knock-on effect of increasing productivity and prosperity across our rural communities. The fund is important in helping us deliver on our priorities – as well as improving community and economic wellbeing, those looking to reduce carbon emissions are prioritised, so this also contributes to our action on the climate emergency. I would urge any rural businesses and organisations in Vale of White Horse to have a look online and apply as soon as possible if they are eligible.”

Who can apply?

Town and Parish Councils, public sector organisations, higher and further education institutions, private sector companies, registered charities, constituted community-based organisations, social enterprises (like CICs) are eligible for the scheme.

A grant panel will then meet in February 2024 to discuss each project and assess which projects should receive funding.

Please note that to be eligible for REPF funding, a business or organisation must be located within an eligible area as defined by Magic Maps. To check if your postcode is eligible, please follow the link, select ‘Administrative Geographies’, ‘Other Administrative Boundaries’, then ‘Rural England Prosperity Fund’ from the list of the left of the screen.

The fund supports the aims of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and Future Farming Programme. For more information visit