The Rural England Prosperity Fund (otherwise referred to as the “Rural Fund”) is a capital grant programme integrated into the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
In Tees Valley the Rural England Prosperity Fund is led by Tees Valley Combined Authority.
The aim of the Rural Fund is to help improve productivity, strengthen and benefit the rural economy and rural communities. In Tees Valley, the Rural Fund can only be used to finance capital projects for small rural businesses and communities in rural areas* of Redcar and Cleveland.
The Rural Fund supports activities that specifically address the particular challenges faced by rural areas*, detailed below.
Rural areas* often face specific challenges including:
- Lower productivity rates
- Poorer connectivity
- Poorer access to key services
Aims of the Fund
The Rural Fund objectives sit within the UKSPF investment priorities for:
- Supporting Local Business; and
- Communities and Place.
They also relate to two of the Levelling Up White Paper Missions:
- Mission 1 – Living standards.
- Mission 9 – Pride in place.
The Rural Fund supports the aims of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and Future Farming Programme and funds capital projects for micro (less than 10 employees) and small businesses (less than 50 employees) which will help to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy in Redcar and Cleveland.
The Rural Fund allocation for Tees Valley is £624,909 and this will provide capital grant funding of between £3k-£15k to eligible businesses and communities.
The Rural Fund provides support for rural areas* in Redcar and Cleveland to provide small scale capital funding to:
- Support new and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy. This includes farm businesses looking to diversify income streams and businesses in the fishing industry.
- Funding (capital grants) for small scale interventions in micro and small enterprises.
- Funding (capital grants) for growing the local social economy, including community businesses, co-operatives and social enterprises.
- Support new and improved community infrastructure, providing essential community services and assets for local people and businesses to benefit the economy.
- Funding (capital grants) for local arts, cultural, heritage and creative activities.
Eligibility and administrative boundaries
Eligibility and administrative boundaries for the Rural Fund are set by the government department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) and not by Tees Valley Combined Authority.
*Rural areas are defined as:
- Towns, villages, and hamlets with populations below 10,000 and the wider countryside.
- Market or ‘hub towns’ with populations of up to 30,000 that serve their surrounding rural areas as centres of employment and in providing services.
The postcode of the project activity must be in a rural eligible area. Eligibility is not based on the postcode of the business making the application, unless this is also where the project activity is taking place.
Eligible areas for the Rural Fund can be identified using Defra’s ‘Magic Maps’ tool.
Applicants MUST complete a postcode check to confirm project eligibility prior to completion of the application form.