Over £3m in European funding for rural businesses has been made available to improve local tourism in Leeds City Region.
The funding, part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme, will be available to businesses, such as farms and farm shops, landowners, and charities, to invest in infrastructure that will boost local tourism.
Grants from £35,000 are available where investment in capital assets will increase the number of visitors, increase the length of stay and/or increase the amount of money spent in the City Region.
Priority will be given where businesses can demonstrate that grant funding will extend the tourism season between October and March, create quality accommodation, footpaths or cycleways, and start or expand events and festivals with legacy potential.
Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Our European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding allocation is another fantastic addition to the business support available to Leeds City Region businesses.
“Culture and tourism are vital to driving the success of the Northern Powerhouse and this fund will allow us to add to and develop the wealth of tourism assets that already exists here.
“Our Strategic Economic Plan sets out how we will build on our distinctive regional assets to help deliver our ambition of creating 36,000 new jobs and adding £3.7bn to our City Region economy and I would urge rural businesses to apply.”
Jan Thornton, vice chair of the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network and member of the LEP’s European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) Local Sub-Committee added: “Rural business and communities are a significant contributor to the success of our City Region’s tourism industry.
“With this funding we hope to see farms diversifying, more cycleways being introduced to capitalise on the success of the Grande Départ and Tour de Yorkshire and visitor attractions created or expanded to increase jobs and build on the celebrated tourism offer already here.”
Businesses interested in applying for funding can contact the Defra Rural Services helpline on 03000 200 301 or GPEnquiries@rpa.gsi.gov.uk.