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Rural businesses in the North East have been given an extra two months to apply for a share of £10m of funding.

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme offers funding for projects that create new jobs and grow the economy in rural areas, including tourism projects, grants to support food processing businesses, and business development grants for new machinery, premises or facilities.

The deadline to submit an expression of interest has been extended to 31 May 2018.

Dinah Jackson, Programme Manager at the North East LEP, said: “We want to hear from businesses that have an idea for a project which will create jobs and growth in our rural communities. If you operate in the tourism, food processing or rural business development sector, you could benefit from up to 40% capital grant funding.”

Three separate capital grant funds are available: Rural Business Development Grants, Rural Tourism Infrastructure Grants and Food Processing Grants.

To be eligible for the grants, businesses must be located in the eligible rural areas of County Durham, Northumberland and Gateshead or within the North East Rural Growth Network boundary.

Businesses which are interested in applying for funding are invited to attend an information event in Castle Eden, County Durham on 11 April where further details on how to apply, the selection criteria and examples of previous successful applicants will be available.

Dinah Jackson added: “There is support available for eligible business growth activities for anyone who is interested in applying for one of these grants. We want to our rural businesses to secure as much of the funding available as possible, so it is vital that we work together with the North East rural business community to identify projects which have the strongest likelihood of bringing a significant benefit to the region’s rural economy.”

The information event for businesses interested in applying will take place on Thursday 26 April, 8.30am-10.30am at The Old Brewery Business Centre in Castle Eden.

More details are available here.

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North East Fund goes liveAlan Welby