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Grant help for Moorlands businesses and community groups

Funding of up to £35,000 to help create new jobs, safeguard existing jobs, attract investment and develop community services in the Staffordshire Moorlands is now available.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is working with partners to help distribute £1.7m funding from the European Union to support rural businesses.

The PEAK LEADER funding will focus on:

  • Farm productivity and improvement
  • Farm diversification
  • Micro and small business expansion - including start-ups
  • Developing rural services
  • Small scale culture and heritage developments and improvements
  • Rural tourism - new small tourist attractions
  • Forestry improvements

Projects must either create jobs and business growth or develop community services to be eligible for a grant. Applications will close on Friday 31 March.

Council Leader and cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Sybil Ralphs, encouraged local enterprises to make sure they don't miss out: "Businesses in rural areas are at the heart of our community and play a critical role in supporting the local economy and providing jobs.

"It's a key priority of ours to help businesses grow and develop so if you're a small business, farmer or community group in the Staffordshire Moorlands we're keen to support you to take advantage of this opportunity."

This is the second year that the funding has been available - and last year 22 businesses were able to expand and take on new employees as a result.

Amongst those were third generation farmers Chris and Amie Lovatt from Rushton Spencer who, having taken over their family farm, moved from beef to dairy production with an expanding herd of 50+ cattle.

The young farmers have embraced technology purchasing a robotic milking machine with their grant of £39,000. This investment has enabled them to take advantage of a supplier contract with a major retailer.

Their ambitions don't end there though with expansion plans to help safeguard the future of the farm for the next generation and Amie studying hard to further develop her skills.

Councillor Ralphs added: "This young couple are a fantastic example of what can be achieved thanks to the winning combination of their hard work and commitment to their business and the support of the grant funding they were able to secure.

"I congratulate them on their ongoing success and would encourage any other eligible local business with similar growth aspirations to see if they too could benefit from a PEAK LEADER grant."

Find out more about Peak Leader grants