New fund to support rural Surrey and Hampshire businesses

Backing for businesses to transform rural buildings

Vacant buildings in rural Staffordshire could be transformed into thriving business hubs for small and medium sized enterprises thanks to a new initiative launched this week.

The Rural Enterprise Programme will make grants of between £10,000 and £65,000 available to businesses that can demonstrate they will create jobs as a result of a move to the refurbished building.

Grants are also available to property owners with a business lined up to occupy their premise. Businesses and property owners will need to match fund any grant and the initiative is being coordinated by Staffordshire County Council.

Properties will need to be converted for manufacturing, creative or service industry use. The funding can be used for works to build or refurbish workspaces, build extensions, installation of services, access works, car parking and landscaping works needed for planning permission. Properties in all areas of Staffordshire are available, including the county’s towns.

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said: “It remains a top priority of the county council is to continue to support job creation, particularly better paid, better skilled jobs.

"The Rural Enterprise Programme is an addition to our package of support for small businesses, helping them to expand and create jobs. It will also add incentive to Staffordshire businesses to utilise existing buildings and further grow the county’s economy.”

Grants are not available for retail, agriculture, tourism or residential end uses. Funding for the scheme has come from the European Regional Development Fund.

Anyone wanting to find out more should call 01785 277400 or email REP@staffordshire.gov.uk