Urgent Telephone 4pm - 8.30am : 01233 331111

Grants now available for rural businesses and communities in the Ashford borough

Published: 18/01/2024
A countryside background

Ashford Borough Council has successfully secured funding from UK Government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF).

Alongside the allocation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), Ashford Borough Council has been awarded £593,000 REPF funding, specifically to support rural areas in the borough up to March 2025.

Following consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and expressions of interest, Ashford’s REPF plan, approved by government, sets out four capital grant schemes aimed at filling gaps in support for businesses and organisations and deliver on REPF objectives. These are:

  • Rural Green Business Grant – to provide grants to support energy efficiency or energy transition projects in commercial premises in rural parts of the borough.
  • Rural Electric Vehicle Charging Point Grant – to provide grants to support the installation of Electrical Vehicle Charging Points at publically accessible parking sites in rural areas of the borough.
  • Rural Place and Provenance Grant – to provide grants to support rural food and drink producers, hospitality and tourism attractions or venues to increase productivity and sustainability for businesses, support the creation of start-up spaces and tackle the ‘Last Mile’ challenge in rural areas.
  • Community Amenities Grant (Round 2) – to provide grants using REPF and UKSPF funding for improvements to community infrastructure such as village halls or outdoor play areas. Following a successful first round for the 2023/24 financial year, further UKSPF and REPF funding has been allocated for projects proposed in the 2024/25 financial year.

The applications will open in rounds and the current round is now live until 11:59pm Sunday 4 February 2024.

Full details regarding the REPF and UKSPF grants, including eligibility can be found on our rural business support webpage.

The Rural England Prosperity Fund is linked to the government’s levelling up agenda, with REPF activity falling within two categories, ‘supporting rural communities’ and ‘supporting rural businesses’. Further information about these funds, and other government community funds is available on the government website.

Cllr Noel Ovenden, Leader of Ashford Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Prosperity and Resource, said: “The Rural England Prosperity Fund scheme represents a good avenue for Ashford Borough Council to use this short-term funding from government to support our communities and businesses in these challenging times.

“These grant schemes can help tackle some key issues faced in rural parts of the borough, support our move to net zero, and create more opportunities for people outside of the Ashford urban area.”

The Rural England Prosperity Fund:

The Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) is an additional component of the UK government's Levelling Up agenda providing support for rural communities and rural businesses across the UK. It will provide £593,000 of targeted funding for investment in rural parts of the Ashford Borough by March 2025. 

UK Shared Prosperity Funding:

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of the UK government’s ambitious Levelling Up agenda and a significant component of its support for places across the UK. It will provide £1m of new funding for local investment in the Ashford Borough by March 2025.