New businesses and jobs created through the Worcestershire LEADER programme

LEADER Published Wednesday, 21st June 2017

More than £605,000 has been invested into Worcestershire businesses to date through the LEADER programme since it was set up two years ago.

A total of 24 businesses have been chosen to receive funding, with a total contracted amount of £605,879.

The fresh investment has meant the creation of extra jobs also, with up to 80 new positions expected to be created by the end of 2019 across all the companies.

LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England and is delivered locally by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire Local Action Group on behalf of Defra.

The focus of the LEADER programme is on growing the economies of rural communities by enabling local people to identify and implement solutions to local problems.

The project has received funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development under the Rural Development Programme for England. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the Managing Authority for the Rural Development Programme for England.

The types of businesses that have benefitted so far include farms, village community groups, forestry management businesses and self-employed contractors. The money has been used to fund new buildings, purchase equipment and to create a soft play area.

One of the businesses to receive LEADER funding is Aztec Adventure, an aqua park planned for Upton Warren near Bromsgrove – the first in Worcestershire - with an open day set for July. They were given £14,397.

Craig Spence, Director of Aztec Adventure, said: "LEADER has been extremely supportive with our business venture. They've given us the opportunity to launch Worcestershire's first ever waterpark.

"We took on the activity centre from Worcestershire County Council three years ago and since then we have been thinking about new ideas to make money.

"We shared the waterpark on our Facebook page and received half a million views in 72 hours.

"If I had to give advice to other businesses wishing to apply, I would tell them to go for it. We were opened minded to whether we would have got anything. Now thanks to LEADER we have made our dreams a reality."

Councillor Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure, said: "Many businesses have benefited from the LEADER programme to date.

"The investment has allowed businesses to expand and take on new workers which is great news for the local economy.

"We want businesses to stay and thrive in Worcestershire and the LEADER programme offers the support that will allow local companies to do just that."

The focus of the LEADER programme is on growing the economies of rural communities by enabling local people to identify and implement solutions to local problems.

Jill Hall, Worcestershire LAG Chair, said: "Worcestershire LEADER is delighted to have supported a further 13 businesses to the value of £350k and we are looking forward to supporting the growth plans of rural small businesses in the county.

"I would encourage any business with development plans to have a look at our website www.worcestershire.gov.uk/leader to see whether you are eligible for our assistance."

In the current round of funding, there has been 22 expressions of interest. Businesses that have shown an interest in applying for a grant include a glamping business, new tourism attractions and community shops.

The deadline for people to submit an expression of interest for this latest round is July 28th.

For more information on LEADER contact Katie Ainsworth or Lucy Mayo on 01905 843992/01905 846741 or go to www.worcestershire.gov.uk/leader

www.worcestershire.gov.uk/leader