Successful campaign secures grant funding for rural businesses on the Isle of Wight

The £250,000 Isle of Wight Rural SME Fund is now open for applications
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Isle of Wight Council was awarded £536,049 in September 2022

The £250,000 Isle of Wight Rural SME Fund is now open for applications, in support of the island’s rural economy, following months of work by the CLA and a range of partners.

Isle of Wight Council was awarded £536,049 in September 2022 as part of the £110 million Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). The funding was made available from April 2023 and following the announcement the CLA South East team actively sought to engage with all councils across the region to offer support and guidance and to ensure CLA members were kept updated.

Following a lengthy series of talks that started in May 2023, with additional insight shared by CLA Senior Economist Charles Trotman, I am delighted to share that the Isle of Wight economic development board has finalised plans to launch a small grants scheme, accessible to all SME rural businesses across the island.

Concern was raised by the CLA at the initial allocation proposals on for the island in May 2023 as no small grants scheme was proposed. The CLA has since worked together with a network of rural partners including Natural Enterprise Partnership, the Isle of Wight National Landscape, the NFU and Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society to raise the council’s awareness of the challenges facing land based/rural businesses and emphasise both the intended purpose of the fund and the overarching need to support the rural sector.

Ongoing communication has also been secured with rural partners forming part of the approvals panel for the fund.

Criteria for applying

The application window is relatively short – closing on the 25 May and so I would urge anyone considering an application to submit an expression of interest quickly. Any capital project that addresses one or more of the following will be considered:

  • Stimulates and supports innovation and enterprise – creating new services, new products, new ways of working and new partnerships
  • Adds value or lifts quality standards – delivering a greater economic return
  • Stimulates and enhances further private sector investment; Provides a greater investment in people and skills - improving fulltime job opportunities and wage rates
  • Aligns to existing strategies and policies to ensure value for money is delivered and the public sector investment is maximised
  • Supports investment in key infrastructure items
  • Delivers and supports co-operation and collaboration.

The fund is open for applications for grants of between £2,500 to £50,000, which need to be match funded by the applicant at 50%.

Applications open today and will close on the 25 May. Full guidance can be found

Key contact:

Lucy Charman Rural Adviser, CLA South East