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Newark and Sherwood District Council support and Government funding helping rural businesses to thrive

A number of rural businesses have flourished and expanded their commercial offer after receiving grants.

The grants were made available to small and micro businesses in rural areas by Newark and Sherwood District Council through Rural England Prosperity Fund, integrated into the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Businesses were invited to apply for funding towards projects that help strengthen the rural economy, drive enterprise growth, create and safeguard jobs and encourage the area’s tourism offer.

Rural businesses in the district have benefitted from grants.
Rural businesses in the district have benefitted from grants.

The fund aimed to support a variety of rural businesses across different sectors, with a particular focus on projects within the leisure and hospitality sector, food and drink manufacturers and farm diversification outside of agriculture.

So far more than 200 businesses have received support in the form of grants, specialist business advice or training.

Matthew Spoors, portfolio holder for Sustainable Economic Development at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Our rural businesses are vital in supporting our local economy and it’s been great to hear some of the positive stories from local business owners who have been able to expand their commercial ventures thanks to our support.

“Whether it be buying new equipment or investing in green initiatives, it’s amazing to know that we’ve played a key part in helping them to grow their business.”

Projects the Rural England Prosperity Fund has supported include de-carbonisation and sustainability initiatives, an equestrian centre and glamping site development, the purchase of large equipment for food and drink manufacturers and support for wedding and event venues.

Several businesses have now completed their projects using funding awarded in 2023 and further businesses were awarded a grant through the last round of funding made available in 2024.

Jon-Paul Davies, owner of Kelham House and Country Manor, has used the funds to invest in new solar panels and a Tesla Power wall.

He said: “Building up our sustainable credentials has been on our mind for many years. The rural grant funding has been perfect for us, we have received fantastic support from the district council in bringing about the project in a timely and efficient way.”

Oliver Christy, co-founder of DevOATED Food and Drink Company, has been able to purchase new equipment to increase their supply thanks to the funding, and said: “The Rural Prosperity Fund has been instrumental and essential for us to scale up our operation. The funding has enabled us to fit out and buy the equipment to grow our business much quicker than we would have otherwise been able to do.

“In terms of volume, the funding has enabled us to buy equipment such as a filling machine, that helps us to fill 2,500 bottles of our oat milkshake a day rather than 400 by hand under the old operation.”

Ian Taylor, owner of Orchard Stables Livery, has been able to expand his workforce, and added: “The fund has made us more sustainable, and it’ll increase revenue for the business. It will also give us the opportunity to employee full-time someone to help with the livery business and hopefully for the glamping business as well.”

Local businesses can find out more about support available on the council’s website.

The grant funding was made available through the district councils’ allocation of Rural England Prosperity Fund, an additional capital funding stream integrated within UK Shared Prosperity Fund — part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.

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