LEADER grants update - West Sussex and Lewes District

Farmers, foresters, small businesses and communities based in rural areas of West Sussex and Lewes District can benefit from LEADER grant funding totalling around £2.6 million until September 2018, and possibly beyond. Grants are available for capital investments for projects that will create jobs and grow the rural economy.  Projects that have recently benefitted from LEADER funding include:

Tinwood Wine Estate

Local wine producer Tinwood Wine Estate, near Chichester, invested their LEADER grant in the construction of three vineyard lodges – giving visitors the choice of an overnight stay and a five star view of the vines. Estate owner Art Tukker said: “We first saw the concept in Australia and New Zealand and thought it would be wonderful to bring back here.”

“Without the funding our business plan would never have been able to get off the ground.”

Holmbush Farm

The owners of Holmbush Farm, near Crawley, were another successful applicant who used their grant to purchase a forestry harvester head with an on-board computer plus hard-standing at their wood-yard. The project has increased the volume of woodchip and green waste that can be processed and created an additional full-time job.

Tickfold Farm

The owners of Tickfold Farm have used their LEADER grant to expand their established haylage business – Easy Pack Haylage Ltd – by investing in straw shedding and pelleting machinery. The pellets from the farm’s miscanthus, wheat and oil seed rape straw will be sold as fuel for domestic and commercial biomass boilers and as livestock bedding.

Houghton Farm

With the help of a LEADER grant a disused building at Houghton Farm near Amberley has been converted into a 20 bed bunkhouse style accommodation. The new venture is aimed at walkers and cyclists using the nearby South Downs Way and Monarch’s Way.

Farmers and growers can apply for LEADER grants towards projects that will increase farm productivity through:

  • the application of new technology and techniques;
  • investments to improve animal health and welfare;
  • investments in processing, marketing and developing agricultural products to add value;
  • investments in reservoirs and irrigation to improve management of water resources.

Grants are also available for farm diversification projects.

The Central Sussex and the Sussex Downs & Coastal Plain Local Action Groups have recently published revised applicant handbooks and have increased their maximum grant to £75,000.

For more information and for details on how to apply, visit the Business West Sussex website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk/leadergrants or call the LEADER team on 0330 22 28001.