Funding available to help rural businesses grow

There’s still funding available to help rural businesses and community groups to invest in the future and grow the local economy with the Central Sussex LEADER grants scheme.

The grants are available for capital investments and Central Sussex LEADER has around £1 million left to support projects that will create rural business growth, increase farm productivity, provide improved rural services or boost the visitor economy. 

Councillor Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “The LEADER fund is an important source of grants available to our rural communities. It’s there to benefit and boost businesses and community groups.”

So far more than £385,000 has been awarded to 15 projects, with seven successful applicants based in Lewes district.

One such project is Chailey Heritage Foundation’s new Patchwork Farm, a therapeutic care farm for children and young adults with complex physical disabilities and health needs, which opened in June 2017. The Farm environment provides young people with a wide range of educational and therapeutic benefits including learning about animal care. They can play an active role in feeding and weighing animals to measure growth, practice their communication skills, and develop business and enterprise skills through the sale of produce such as eggs. It also provides a truly multi-sensory learning experience with new sights, sounds, textures and smells to experience.

Plumpton Community Pavilion is another project benefitting from LEADER funding. The project has been awarded a grant of £49,318 to refurbish the building and enable the pre-school nursery to expand. The project is due to complete April 2018.  

David Hurst, the Chairman of the Central Sussex LEADER Local Action Group commented: “LEADER is all about funding exciting new projects that benefit the rural economy and communities. As well as supporting the young people at Chailey Heritage Foundation, this project will benefit the wider rural area through creation of employment, volunteering and work experience opportunities.”  

For more information and details on how to apply, visit the Central Sussex website at or call the LEADER team on 0330 22 28001.

Published on November 28, 2017