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LEADER Business grants helping Cornish businesses to grow
Over 32 small and micro businesses in Cornwall have had development grants approved since the LEADER programme opened in November 2015.
The grants are helping the businesses to grow and expand which enables them to create jobs and boost the economy of rural areas in Cornwall. Many industry sectors have benefitted; from food and drink to forestry and from farm productivity to tourism. To date over £800,000 grant funding has been approved and together with the contributions from the businesses themselves the total investment will be over £1,850,000.
Claire Bollard purchased Ruan Minor post office and shop just over 3 years ago and the building was in urgent need of refurbishment. With the help of LEADER funding Claire has not only renovated the shop and post office but also created an inviting community café which has become the hub of the local community. The café uses local products, serving Cornish coffee with milk from the local farm. Since the café has been thriving the demand for local milk has increased significantly. The locals say that the café has transformed the village and having a local meeting place that is open year-round is vital for the community. The café has also attracted additional tourist trade to the village now there is a place to stop just off the coast path for walkers and cyclists. As a result of the boost in trade the business has taken on two new members of staff.
LEADER funding can also support manufacturing companies. Cornish Natural Spring Water received funding towards a bottle blowing machine enabling them to make their own plastic bottles putting them straight onto the production line where they are cleaned, filled and packed. The investment has reduced the number of lorry loads of bottles from 10 to 2 with the blanks being easier to store at the bottling plant and importantly securing supplies to cover the peak seasons. 1.5 full time equivalent posts have been created as a result of the project.
Treway Farm Cornish Turkeys have installed a walk in chiller with LEADER funding which has meant the business can now meet increased demand for its turkeys. Over the next 3 years the company expects to employ up to 6 additional seasonal staff to cover Christmas and Easter.
Farmers are also improving their productivity with the help of LEADER. Will Taffinder, a sheep farmer on the Roseland has acquired new equipment. “The mobile handling equipment means that we can carry out our day-to-day flock management tasks to a very high standard easily and efficiently at any location. The time saved by having this equipment means that we can confidently look to expand our flock and increase productivity without letting our high standards of animal husbandry slip”.
LEADER also supports rural services and heritage projects. The recent publicity around Godolphin Cross Community Hall’s generous contribution from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was a project also funded by LEADER. The Godolphin Cross Community Association has used the funds to buy the village hall from the Methodist Church to ensure community groups can continue to use it and develop it further in the future.
Applications to the fund are handled by Cornwall Development Company and four Local Action Groups that cover different areas of Cornwall and comprise of local representatives from the private, voluntary and public sector. The Local Action Groups award the funding. The groups are often looking for new members so anyone interested should contact one of the four area Co-ordinators.
Further information on applying to the fund and to become a Local Action Group member can be found at www.localactioncornwall.co.uk or telephone 01872 324650/324996.