Rural England Prosperity Fund

A new grant scheme

There’s new money coming for farm and rural businesses. There will be grants towards capital expenditure from every rural authority in England. It’s there to support rural businesses, and, to quote Defra, it is to:

“Support new and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy. This includes farm businesses looking to diversify income streams.”

REPF – this is an acronym it will be worth getting to know; it stands for the new Rural England Prosperity Fund. It is grant money that is available to farms and other businesses in rural local authority areas. Your local council will have been checked over by Defra to see if it qualifies as being ‘rural’. If it meets their rural criteria, and some 111 authorities have done, then the council will have been awarded REPF funds and been asked to design a scheme to deliver them. The money is substantial, with a range of from £400,000 to over £2m and often in the order of about £700,000 to £1million. It is short-lived and must have been spent by March 2025.

Each local authority are designing their own scheme; therefore, they will not be uniformly the same as previous rural development grant schemes. The table below begins to indicate this.

How do you know what your local REPF scheme is about, what it will fund; what the funding limits are; what is the percentage rate of the grant; what are the time limits? All you can do is to look at your own council’s web site and see what their REPF scheme has to offer. To find out whether it is even a rural area and has any REPF funds, the funding allocations can be seen on the Defra web site.

We do know the following have launched as of July 2023

County Council Total amount available Grant rate: Business Support Links
Bedfordshire Central Bedfordshire County Council £1,061,854 Information accessed through delivery partners UKSPF business support

UKSPF: Central Bedfordshire business growth & innovation support

UKSPF: export support

Central Bedfordshire Council start-up support programme
Bedford Borough Council £552,352 Business Investment – Max Grant £20,000
Visitor Economy – Grants between £2,000 – £5,000

You can make an application at any time, and it will be considered at the monthly REPF Grant Panel meeting.

Application must be submitted two weeks before the next meeting date.

Applications Open

Next Meeting Dates:
15th November 2023
13th December 2023
17th January 2024
21st February 2024
Rural England Prosperity Fund
Buckinghamshire Buckinghamshire £1,828,695 Between £2,500 and £300,000 at 40% grant rate Buckinghamshire Rural Business Grant
Cambridgeshire East Cambridgeshire District Council £550,000 To be utilised towards the cost of improving and expanding the ESpace North Business Centre Employment shortfall to be addressed in Littleport
Fenland District Council £436,000 Business Support Grant Rate – Max £5,000 at a 50% rate. 1st Round Application closed 20th October 2023 2nd Round Applications Opening – 1st April 2024 Fenland Rural England Prosperity Fund
Huntingdonshire District Council £957,788 Grant Rate: Max value of £150,000 at a 40% rate.

Application Open date – TBC
South Cambridgeshire £1,168,135 Information TBC – Applications to open 1st April 2024 Rural England Prosperity Fund
Essex Braintree District Council £589,191 Between £10,000 and £50,000 with at least £10,000 match funding Rural Prosperity Fund
Colchester City Council £532,195 Between £5,000 £ and 150,000 at 50% grant rate Applying for a grant
Chelmsford City Council £532,195 Up to £10,000, up to 80% grant rate Rural England Prosperity Fund
Epping Forest District Council £440,000 Information TBC – Spring 2024
Maldon District Council £430,000 Information TBC – Expected January 2024
Tendring District Council £659,335 Between £5,000 and £20,000 with at least 25% grant rate Rural England Prosperity Fund
Uttlesford District Council £813,487 Between £5,000 and £150,000 at 40% grant rate Rural England Prosperity Fund
Hertfordshire East Herts District Council £472,841 Between £5,000 and ££50,000 at 50% grant rate UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Norfolk Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk £1,496,455 Between £10,000 and £100,000 at a grant rate of 50% West Norfolk Shared Prosperity Funding current grant opportunities and support
Breckland Council £1,041,797 Grant rate: Minimum grant £2,500 – Maximum Grant £25,000 up to 50% of total project costs Rural England Prosperity Fund
Great Yarmouth Borough Council £400,000 Grant rate: £10,000 – £20,000 at grant rate of 50% Call for expression of interest – Rural business support grant
North Norfolk District Council £1,457,851 Between £10,000 and £100,000 at a grant rate of 50% UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural England Prosperity Fund
South Norfolk and Broadland District Council £1,485,340 Up to £100,000 at a grant rate of 50% Broadland Rural Business Builder Capital Grant
Northamptonshire North Northants £1,161,812 Between £10,000 and £50,000 at a grant rate of 50% Rural Business Grant Scheme
West Northamptonshire Council £1,367,953 Business Grant – Expression of Interest Open week commencing 11th December 2023 Broadland Rural Business Builder Capital Grant
Suffolk East Suffolk £1,129,881 Between £15,000 and £30,000 at a grant rate of 75% Rural England Prosperity Fund
Mid Suffolk & Babergh District Council £1,443,027 Between £5,000 and £10,000 at a grant rate of 50% Rural England Prosperity Fund
West Suffolk Council £753,701 Grant Rate: £5,000 – £10,000, Applicant required to match funds they are applying for. Applications through New Anglia Growth Hub. Growth hub support for West Suffolk businesses boosted with grants

How to win a grant

There’s no such thing as free lunch and, while grants are free money and don’t have to be paid back, there are rules and obligations which must be borne in mind. It takes time to put together an application, with more of it for appraisal and possibly waiting for a decision by an award panel that only meets at certain times. You have to be open about your business and explain it and your plans, normally just in writing – there won’t be face to face meetings and discussions. Grants are competitive – other people are after them as well, so you must have a convincing case, together with the numbers backing it up to show that your plans are sound, sensible and profitable.

A grant will only provide a proportion of the funding to set up the new project so where will the rest (called match funding) come from? The local authority will ask for evidence that you can provide it; it can come from your own business reserves (you’ll need a current bank statement to prove it); or from a loan from the bank or from a private source like family or a friend – and you’ll need a letter from them to confirm it. You won’t know the exact amount you need until you’ve got the quotes in, but you’ll have an idea of the scale of the plan, and it’s a good idea to have early talks with your bank and probably your accountant to make sure they understand your plans and are supportive.

Once you’ve sent in the grant application, you have to wait – don’t start the project. Capital grants are not retrospective and if you start before being awarded a grant, the funder will believe you don’t need one.

Above all and throughout, make it as easy as you can for an appraiser to say yes to your application.


  • Have a clear plan of what you want to do and why.
  • Check to see if your local authority has REPF funds.
  • Understand the authority’s scheme and their priorities.
  • Know the dates for an application.
  • Make a complete, concise application, providing all the information that’s asked for.
  • Be patient.

If you would like support in making an application from applying for planning permission to borrowing match funds to writing the application, please contact a member of our team who would be delighted to help and guide.

Emma Powlett & Richard Rampton