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Rural Business Support

Specific advice for Agricultural businesses can be found through the Advice for Kent Downs Farmers Scheme.

General business advice and support is available for Ashford businesses and information is provided on what to do if you are thinking of starting a business.

Free advice for Kent Downs Farmers

If you are a farmer, landholder or small rural business in or straddling the boundary of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) you could be eligible to receive a free Action Plan to support you in expanding or diversifying your business.A photo of rural Ashford

The Kent Downs Rural Advice Service is a pilot project providing free support to farmers and land owners who are seeking to make a change to their land management practices or business. The service can arrange for experts in planning, environment and business development to visit each farmer wishing to take advantage of the service and set out advice in a straight forward Action Plan to help take proposals forward.

For more information email jenny.bate@kentdowns.org.uk at Kent Downs Rural Advice Service, call 01303 815170 or visit the Kent Downs website.

Farm Diversification Toolkit

The Farm Diversification Toolkit is a reference guide and DIY toolkit to help farmers take a balanced and integrated approach to making changes on their farm.

Covering the business, financial, heritage, environmental and planning issues, the toolkit offers anyone a first step introduction and web-based 'source book'.

For more information on the toolkit please email jenny.bate@kentdowns.org.uk at Kent Downs Rural Advice Service, or visit the Kent Downs website.

Action for Communities in Rural Kent

Action for Communities in Rural Kent (ACRK) is an independent voluntary organisation that deals specifically with rural projects and communities within Kent. They provide support and advice for rural businesses as well as helping to raise awareness of rural issues.

To support the ever changing needs of rural retailers, ACRK has created the Kent for Rural Retail (KARR), this organisation attempts to prevent villages from becoming just dormitories to local towns and tries to preserve retail in the rural area.

For more information call 01303 813790.

Future Farming Resilience Fund free advice

Through the Future Farming Resilience Fund, any farmer or land manager in England who receives BPS (Basic Payment Scheme payments) is eligible to receive free business advice from an independent provider during the early years of the agricultural transition.

To access this advice, take a look at the list of advice providers on GOV.UK. It is arranged by county. Alternatively, phone Defra on 0345 933 5577.