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Funding available for small rural businesses

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There’s still funding available for small rural businesses and community groups to apply for with the LEADER grants scheme.

Farmers, foresters and communities based in rural areas of West Sussex, Lewes district and Hayling Island can benefit from LEADER grant funding totalling around £2.6 million until September 2018, and possibly beyond. Grants are available for capital investments for projects that will create jobs and grow the rural economy.

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “The LEADER fund is an important source of grants available to our many rural communities. It’s there to benefit and boost businesses and community groups.

“We know from the previous LEADER programme that this funding has been so very helpful for people developing their businesses and has been much appreciated.

“If you think you’d benefit from a grant, maybe you want to recruit new staff or grow your business, then I would encourage you to apply. Who knows where that extra bit of funding could take you and your business.”

Under the current scheme, a total of £380,000 has so far been awarded to 13 projects in this region, creating 25 full time jobs over the next three years.

One such project is local wine producer Tinwood Wine Estate, near Chichester, who invested their grant in the construction of three vineyard lodges – giving visitors the choice of an overnight stay and a five star view of the vines.

Estate owner Art Tukker said: “We first saw the concept in Australia and New Zealand and thought it would be wonderful to bring back here.”

“Without the funding our business plan would never have been able to get off the ground.”

The owners of Holmbush Farm, near Crawley, were another successful applicant who used their grant to purchase a forestry harvester head with an on-board computer plus hard-standing at their wood-yard. The project has increased the volume of woodchip and green waste able to be processed and created an additional full-time job.

For more information and for details on how to apply, visit the Business West Sussex website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk or call the LEADER team on 0330 22 28001.

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Cllr Brian Quinn and Crawley Mayor champion Broadfield Barton

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It is a welcome sight seeing stores opening across the town again, and none more so than in Broadfield Barton where the towns Mayor and Cllr Guidera met up with Broadfield Cllr Brian Quinn to champion the area.

Speaking about the visit Mayor Guidera said:

“I was delighted to be hosted today by almost certainly the most well-known councillor in Crawley, Broadfield Cllr Brian Quinn, for a tour of the local small businesses and charity shops at Broadfield Barton. Brian knew everybody (as I expected!) and it was a really enjoyable afternoon spent meeting the people who run the community shops that serve the residents of Broadfield so well.

One older resident stopped us and spoke about how one of the shops had been so helpful during the lockdown, going to great lengths to be able to provide fresh produce that, as we know was running out everywhere back then, so the community had what it needed over the past few, very difficult months. The friendly staff of the Santa Maria cafe, rightly proud of their fabulous Madeiran cooking, were so welcoming and having eaten there many times before I can say if you haven’t been there yet you are missing out!

They have plenty of outdoor seating too! The last place we visited was the newsagents, which is actually a fully stocked convenience store! Again, so welcoming with a great selection, even an American sweets and drinks area! Of course it’s important to mention both the relate charity shop and St Vincent’s do both raise money to serve the local community in their different capacities comma please remember them when you are done eating stuff if you live nearer to them they are very grateful for any support you offer in terms of bric-a-brac donations and clothing.

So, thank you Cllr Quinn, and thank you to all of the people who were so friendly and welcoming today, including the many residents who stopped us for photographs!”

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