Bid to get millions of pounds for rural areas

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PLANS to secure millions of pounds to support rural communities in North Yorkshire are being drawn up under the most successful programme of its kind in the country.

Speakers on rural development will address a key event next week about developing the next strategy under the LEADER programme, which is jointly funded by the Government and the European Union.

The North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme is the most successful in the country after allocating £3.1m to more than 200 schemes since the start of 2009. However, the LEADER programmes come to an end in March 2014, and a new application for funding needs to be made to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The programme manager for the North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme, Mike Horrocks, told the Yorkshire Post that he hoped a similar amount of money would be secured.

He added: “It is often small amounts of money that are awarded, but the schemes that benefit are the heartbeat of rural communities. It is about taking a seed and allowing it to grow. There are often a lot of unexpected benefits that emerge as a result of the funding that is awarded.”

The greatest amount of funding to be allocated in the North York Moors was £130,000 to set up a community archive at the Ryedale Folk Museum in Pickering. Other major successes include a £5,000 grant which was used to revamp the kitchen of Hovingham Village Hall which has then helped set up an award-winning village market.

Speakers at Grinkle Park Hotel in Easington on next Tuesday will include Andy Tordoff, the head of the Rural Development Programme for England in Yorkshire and the North East, and James Farrar, the chief operating officer at Business Inspired Growth.

It is hoped farmers, entrepreneurs, conservation groups and members of the public will attend the meeting, which starts at 9.30am.

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