08 January 2024

New Investment for West Berkshire’s Rural Communities

New Investment for West Berkshire’s Rural Communities

We’re pleased to announce that West Berkshire’s Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) business grant scheme is now live! The grant is a fantastic opportunity for local small rural businesses to apply for funding to support capital initiatives.

In total we have been awarded £597,994 REPF under the Government’s Levelling Up scheme, with half of the allocation (£297,994) to be distributed across our rural areas as part of the scheme.

The funding will be allocated over two financial years, with £99,498 being provided in 2023/2024, and a further £198,495 in 2024/2025. The business grants will range between £10,000 to £40,000 and will be awarded to businesses on a rolling basis over the lifetime of the scheme.

The main aim of the REPF business grant is to stimulate economic growth within West Berkshire’s rural economy, in line with our Rural Economy Policy, by encouraging small businesses to invest in diversification ventures, sustainable energy, new production methods, and the conversion of derelict farm buildings for commercial use.

Successful projects should help to improve the long-term sustainability and resilience of the rural economy, and this will in turn help maintain the vibrancy and viability of our rural communities.

Some types of projects that are eligible for the Fund are the conversion of derelict farm buildings to new commercial uses, net-zero initiatives for rural businesses, agritourism, and the purchase of equipment to diversify outside of traditional agriculture.

Cllr Martin Colston, Executive Member for Regeneration, Growth and Strategy Development at West Berkshire Council, said: “This is an excellent chance to invest in and stimulate private sector growth amongst our small rural businesses.

“West Berkshire’s rural communities are a key part of our district’s identity, culture, and economy. Ensuring their long-term viability is crucial to the prosperity of the entire district. That’s why we’re offering funding to support our small rural business to diversify or to fund projects outside conventional agriculture.”

Guidance on applying for the REPF business grant scheme can be found on the Council’s website, The scheme will be running from now until March 2025, with funding awarded on a rolling basis over this period. However, businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

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