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2.6M Contract for Rural Development goes to Isle of Wight

6 November 2008
IOW leader

Graham Biss, Chief Executive, Isle of Wight Economic Partnership (IWEP); Pam Alexander, Chief Executive, SEEDA; Steve Beynon, Chief Executive, Isle of Wight Council; Judi Griffin, Chairman of the Local Action Group.
Courtesy IW Council, 2008.

Related Media

CEO Pam Alexander speaks on
Isle of Wight radio

Reproduced with permission.
(c) Isle of Wight Radio ltd, 2008.

A £2.66m contract which will deliver rural development and economic benefits to the Isle of Wight , while supporting more than 200 local projects, has been presented to Isle of Wight Council and IoW Economic Partnership today.

The award of European funding from SEEDA, the South East England Development Agency, will be used to help support farmers, foresters, growers, rural businesses and rural communities to make agriculture more competitive while improving the quality of life in rural areas and strengthening the diversification of the rural economy.

Applicants with project ideas ranging from farm food processing, village shops, community halls, forest processing, renewable energy projects and tourism projects, should apply to the IoW Economic Partnership who manage the project, which is expected to run until the end of 2013. Typical grant awards made can be up to a maximum of £50,000.

Financed through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which is funded by Defra and the European Union, the award is known as a LEADER project, which allows a public-private partnership to determine how funds are allocated according to the priorities of the LEADER group's Local Development Strategy.

SEEDA Chief Executive, Pam Alexander, commented: "LEADER is a locally-led approach that will support a range of schemes to create wealth on the Isle of Wight .

"These include helping to increase the sale value of local produce, providing renewable energy, and thus reducing businesses' running costs and tackling climate change, and increasing profits from tourism. The funds will help to develop new enterprises on the Isle of Wight, as well as providing major opportunities for businesses and communities to work together to invest in their future."

The IoW Economic Partnership is delighted that Leader funds will enable them to enhance the vitality of the island's rural community by supporting agriculture, rural businesses and local people to be more sustainable both economically and environmentally.

Judi Griffin, Chairman of the Local Action Group (LAG), added: "The success in obtaining this funding demonstrates what the Island can achieve if we work in partnership. This is a wonderful opportunity to address some of the issues that have put the Island 's rural businesses and communities at a disadvantage.

"A strategic plan of action will enable us to support agriculture, rural businesses and local people to be more sustainable both economically and environmentally. It is vital that this funding and the associated private investment is maximised to deliver real improvements to the Island 's rural economy."

Steve Beynon, Chief Executive of the Isle of Wight Council, concluded: "We are delighted that £2.6 million has been secured to support the Island 's rural economy. The funding is especially welcome at a time when many rural businesses face challenges due to the current economic climate. We will continue to work with our partners to try and attract further funding and investment to the island."

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