Rural businesses and organisations across south and east Somerset and south Wiltshire are being encouraged to apply for EU grants designed to support the local economy before it’s too late. The Heart of Wessex Local Action Group (LAG) has recently been awarded an additional programme allocation of c. £200,000 to invest in projects that directly support the rural economy in the LAG area and is now open to new Expressions of Interest from eligible businesses and organisations.

So far the LAG has invested £1.7 million to successful projects, and applicants are encouraged to apply quickly if they wish to be considered for grant support. Sarah Dyke, the Heart of Wessex Programme Manager said, “We are delighted that we now have more funding available to support rural businesses in our area and would like to encourage more great project ideas to come forward as soon as possible as all grants must be awarded to successful applicants by the end of June”. She added, “Funding is not guaranteed and will only be awarded to projects that make the greatest contribution to the local economy and offer best value for money by creating new jobs and increasing productivity”.

Eligible applicants are businesses, farmers, foresters and community groups across the Heart of Wessex LAG with grants starting from £5,000 up to £100,000 with the LEADER programme designed to promote business growth and job creation in rural communities. Projects should support the LAG’s Local Development Strategy and the six National priorities which are: support for increasing farm productivity; support for micro and small enterprises and farm diversification; support for rural tourism; provision for rural services; support for cultural and heritage activity and support for increasing forestry productivity.
The window of opportunity to apply is short however. All Expressions of Interest must be submitted by 15th May and subsequently, Full Applications by 15th June. All projects must be approved and contracted by Friday 28th June. All grant payments must have been made by 31st December 2019.

Further details about the projects which have been awarded a grant funding can be found on the Heart of Wessex website ( For more information on LEADER funding, the Heart of Wessex LAG and how to apply, please visit .

Alternatively call Sarah on 07826 907361 for an initial chat, she would be happy to hear from you and can quickly advise if your project meets the funding criteria.