Since its launch in November 2016, the Cheshire LEADER Programme has now successfully approved nine projects for funding, between them creating over 39 full-time jobs with £273,694 of grant funding.
The projects include the creation of a new equine centre and a rural children’s nursery, neither of which would have been possible without LEADER funding, and both involve redundant farm buildings that are being converted to be put to better use.
Bradley Barns Nursery, a new children’s nursery near Malpas, was the first project to be approved for funding and aims to create 21 full-time jobs once during its first few years of operation. “With the declining dairy sector and having a young family ourselves we have had to make the decision to diversify into another field” said Vicky Hollins of Bradley Barns Farm, who will manage the nursery once it opens. “The idea to transform our old milking parlour into a daycare nursery has opened a new door for our family. This has been made possible by the LEADER Fund, as the current state of the agricultural industry would have made other forms of external investment unachievable. The full process has been fully supported by the Cheshire LEADER team, and we have enjoyed a positive relationship throughout the journey.”
Townley Farm Equestrian Centre is another new farm diversification that has now received funding, and construction of the Centre’s facilities – including stables, indoor and outdoor ménages, tack rooms, washrooms and a solarium – was completed in early October.
Said Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure: “I’d like to congratulate the first projects to benefit from LEADER funding, they will make a very valuable contribution to our rural economy.
“These projects are just the beginning of what the Cheshire LEADER team aim to achieve during the programme’s lifespan; they are always on the lookout for any rural businesses or organisations seeking capital grant funding, and they are available to help any applicants through the process. As well as assisting farm diversification projects, the LEADER programme is also intended to fund any new or growing small- or micro-enterprises, as well as projects related to farm productivity, rural tourism, culture and heritage, rural services and forestry.”
Details on the programme’s requirements as well as the sort of costs it can contribute towards can be found on the Cheshire LEADER website: www.cheshireleaderfund.co.uk, or contact Sean Bell, the Cheshire LEADER Support Officer, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01244 973824 for more information.