Dudley Peverill

Rural England Prosperity Fund – A Post Launch Update

Earlier this year in April, the government launched the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). This new fund was introduced in September 2022 and is a two year capital grant scheme for farms, rural businesses and communities alike. The fund is running from 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2025.

The £110m of funding has been allocated in varying amounts to individual local authorities throughout England. The 117 local authorities involved will be responsible for the administration and delivery of the REPF. Applicants must therefore apply directly to their local authorities upon the opening of application rounds.

If you’re new to this fund, click here to view our previous REPF article to find out more. Alternatively, visit the REPF guidance page on the Government website

Whilst the REPF has officially been launched, many local authorities are yet to open their application windows, causing frustration and confusion. Below we’ll be sharing an update on the REPF and answering some frequently asked questions.

Contact us today and we’ll gladly help guide you through the REPF and assist you in an application.

REPF funding allocations

Many local authorities have been allocated a share of the £110m available through the REPF. The exact allocations can be viewed on the government REPF guidance page here. You can search the allocation page to determine whether your local authority will be offering the REPF.

Allocations will be made available to local authorities in two instalments.

  1. 2023-2024: 25% of the total allocation
  2. 2024-2025: 75% of the total allocation

Due to the allocation proportions above, it is likely that grants available in year one will be more focused on smaller capital projects.


How do I apply for the REPF?

Applications must be made through local authorities. If your local authority has been allocated funding, we recommend that you check your local authority website or portal in the first instance to determine whether the REPF is being promoted, if there is guidance available, and ultimately, whether the application process is up and running.

Many local authorities will opt for a two stage application process. Similarly to that of recent capital grant schemes, an initial expression of interest stage will be the first step. This will require applicants to provide a summary of their proposed projects. Subject to an application passing the expression of interest (stage 1), the applicant will be invited to submit a full application, requiring further detail. However, it is important to note that local authorities are under no obligation to apply a two stage process.

Who is responsible for promoting the REPF?

Participating local authorities are responsible for communicating and promoting the REPF. Many are utilising their websites and portals to provide information, guidance and as a platform to host applications.

Which projects will be eligible for grant funding?

Local authorities will determine the eligibility criteria for rural projects, and these criteria may vary across each local authority respectively. However, there are several common and key themes that should be considered by applicants, particularly farming businesses:

  • Enhancing food processing and adding value to the supply chain.
  • Projects that contribute to the rural tourism and visitor economy.
  • Improving infrastructure to support rural businesses.
  • Farm diversification

Applicants must ensure their projects meet the terms and conditions set out by the local authority. 

What is the minimum and maximum funding level?

Minimum and maximum grant funding levels will be dictated by each local authority. The government has advised local authorities that whilst they may want to set clear maximum grant allowances, they should also offer value for money and be fit for purpose. In this instance, some local authorities will accept more smaller applications, whereas others may accept fewer, larger capital project applications.

Do I need to match-fund the REPF grant?

The government has not imposed any maximum intervention rates on local authorities and as such, allowing match-funding remains the responsibilities of local authorities. The term “match-funding” relates to the need for applicants to fund the rest of the project. The CLA have expressed jointly with government that match-funding has worked well in the past in similar capital grant schemes. Therefore, it is likely REPF match-funding will be a prevalent and favoured condition across local authorities.

Historic capital grant schemes facilitated by EU funding, such as the RDPE and LEADER grants, featured a cap on the proportion of project cost that could be public funded (typically 40% up to a maximum amount). Therefore, there was a need for match-funding, whereby the applicant was required to finance the remainder of the project.

Can I apply for an REPF grant alongside another grant scheme for the same project?

Double-funding is strictly not permited under the rules of the REPF. For example, if you have applied for a Farming Transformation Fund – Adding Value grant for a project, you would not be eligible to apply for the REPF grant for the same project. This extends to any public capital grant scheme.

However, applying for REPF funding for the a separate project is permissible.

Our REPF recommendations

  • Keep an eye on your local authority website to stay up to date with the latest REPF information in your area. Don’t miss the application window!
  • Sharing of profits
  • Make sure you are fully understanding of the grant eligibility criteria before you apply
  • Does your project meet your local authorities grant funding criteria?
  • Make sure you are aware of any maximum grant level in place, whether match-funding is in place and how you will raise finance the necessary capital
  • Is the application a one or two stage process? Is there an expression of interest application required first?
  • Have you got all of the supporting documentation required to make a full application? e.g. planning permission, business plans, quotations etc.
  • Ensure all deadlines are met – act quickly to acquire any relevant permissions or licences required (many applicants of historic grant schemes missed deadlines due to planning application delays or similar)
  • If in doubt, speak with your local authority or advisors!

The REPF is a welcomed grant scheme and will likely enable the progression of diversification and enterprise development across many rural and farming businesses. At Dudley Peverill, we are making sure our clients are fully informed with regard to capital grants which may help them to create alternative income streams and further sweat their assets.

At Dudley Peverill, we work hard to deliver farm diversification on behalf of our clients, often advising on financing strategies and grant funding. Contact us today to discuss diversifying your farm or rural business today.

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