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A boost for rural businesses in the North West

The programme is expected to be rolled out sometime in June 2015 and will target local farmers seeking to invest in new technologies or make onsite improvements, as well as new or existing small businesses looking to create job opportunities.

Lancashire County Council will manage the programme whilst the funding will be distributed through several Local Action Groups; Lancashire West, Lancashire North & Bowland and Lancashire Pennine Moors. Each of the groups is made up of people from the public, private and voluntary sectors, who have spent the last year identifying local priority areas.

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of the county council, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for local rural businesses who are looking to develop and grow. The funding will be available to businesses, farms and organisations who want to invest and create new jobs.”

Projects funded in a similar rural programme between 2009-2013 include Fiddlers Lancashire Crisps, who were able to build a manufacturing facility at their family farm and also the Odd Chair Company, who were granted additional space to expand their growing business.

This programme is also set to benefit neighbouring areas of Greater Manchester and arrives with great praise from The Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub, who strongly advocate growth in employment, as well as the development of a good sustainable environment for people to live in.

Councillor Sue Derbyshire, Chair of the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub, said “We are delighted that our rural communities are part of the wider £4.6 million of funding to Lancashire by the Rural Payments Agency. Rural communities and businesses in Bolton, Bury, Rochdale and Wigan are a valuable economic asset to the region, they are the drivers for future growth, diversification and long-term employment opportunities.”

As the programme expands over the course of the year, it will also support forestry, tourism, culture & heritage, and community projects.

You can register for the online newsletter to keep up-to-date on opportunities for your rural community by emailing


Image taken from Flickr user Terran Brown with a creative commons license.