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The New Forest Rural Fund

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The New Forest Rural SME Fund was launched in August 2020 in support of the New Forest’s rural economy. It is a competitive programme, managed by Natural Enterprise on behalf of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and New Forest District Council (NFDC) that seeks to support the Solent’s economy by providing grants of between £2,500 to £50,000 to rural small and medium sized businesses that require capital investment with potential for economic growth, leveraging in private sector investment, creating or protecting jobs and assisting the rural sector in the New Forest.

  • The New Forest Rural Fund is now closed for new applications.


      • Applicants to the fund must be SMEs from the rural sector who are based in the New Forest.
      • Applicants will have to evidence how their proposal will create or safeguard private sector jobs, and leverage in additional funding and also have an impact in the New Forest’s rural economy.
      • Grants are generally available for capital expenditure between £2,500 and £50,000.
      • Grants must be matched with private funds (at least 50% of total costs)

      Successful business applicants will need to complete their projects and claim the final instalment of their allocated grant as soon as possible but not later than 31 December 2021 and create the agreed jobs by 31 December 2022.

      You will not be eligible to apply for this fund if your business has already received funding from the Solent LEP for a project that is still live (i.e. has LEP funds yet to be drawn down or contracted outputs yet to be delivered) Solent LEP funding comprises funding direct from Solent LEP including Solent LEP Crowdfunder Pay It Forward, the Isle of Wight or New Forest Rural Fund or the Isle of Wight or New Forest Rural Business Resilience Fund.

      The Rural Fund supports both start-up and established businesses.

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