£500k boost for tourism in rural Warwickshire

A new £500k grant fund to help support and grow the tourism sector in Warwickshire has been launched.

The tourism grants are open to SMEs, land-owners, people or groups representing rural communities, charities and public bodies in the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership area.

The funding is aimed particularly at projects which meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • Create jobs
  • Extend the tourism season
  • Develop tourist attractions and infrastructure to increase the range of attractions and encourage tourists to stay longer and increase their spend
  • Encourage collaboration and links between local tourism businesses.

Tourism is one of the key drivers of economic growth in Warwickshire. It generates a total business turnover of just over £1 billion which supports 18,395 jobs.

The £500k of funding is part of a package of funding which also includes £1.5 million of business development grants open to small and micro businesses in rural areas including social enterprises and farmers diversifying into non-agricultural activities.

Businesses and other organisations are being invited to submit expressions of interest to the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme. The new grant fund is open until 31 January 2018.

Monica Fogarty, Joint Managing Director, Warwickshire County Council said:

“Tourism makes a major contribution to Warwickshire’s economy not only in monetary terms but also in creating employment throughout the whole of the county. These grants will help to create sustainable local jobs for local people.”

Sean Farnell, board member of the CWLEP, said:

“Our region has an extremely strong and diverse rural economy and it is great news the area has been allocated further grant funding to boost businesses.

Through the Rural Growth Network, partner organisations have been working together successfully to enable innovation and create employment at a range of businesses and led to Warwickshire being named as one of the most enterprising places in Britain at the Enterprising Britain Awards. It is important we build on the progress that has been made and for organisations to apply for a share of this new funding to further strengthen our rural economy.”

The fund is part of a wider package of finance available to support Coventry and Warwickshire businesses including small business loans, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investment grants, ERDF innovation grants, ERDF low carbon grants, LEADER grants in North Warwickshire and Warwickshire County Council’s Capital Growth Fund.

Warwickshire County Council worked with CWLEP, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and other government departments to secure the financial allocation through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – part of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

For more information about the RDPE Growth grants, visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rdpe-growth-programme

For information about the range of support available to grow your business, including support with applying for the RDPE Growth grants, contact Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747, email support@cwgrowthhub.co.uk or visit www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk.