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Bids invited for £1.5m rural fund

Rural businesses are invited to submit bids to a £1.5 million grant scheme to boost east Leicestershire’s rural economy.

Known as LEADER, it is a European-funded project, launched last year to support rural business and tourism across Melton and Harborough, plus parts of Charnwood and Blaby.

LEADER aims to support more than 60 projects and create more than 60 jobs in East Leicestershire by 2020. Priorities for the latest bidding round are land-based businesses, small food and drink businesses and community projects increasing access to rural services.

Councillor Pam Posnett, the county council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “I’d encourage rural businesses and communities to apply for a share of this fund, before the latest bidding round closes on February 29.

“Our first round of bids, last October, attracted a range of interesting proposals, which are now being worked up into detailed applications.”

The first round of bids, last October, included proposals for home based and micro businesses, rural tourism and heritage and culture activity.

LEADER is part of the European Union’s Rural Development Programme. It brings communities and businesses together to identify projects that will support rural development.

Working with communities and businesses, the programme is being delivered by the county council, supported by Melton Borough Council and Harborough District Council.

More information and outline application forms can be found at www.oakleaves.org.uk/east-leicestershire-leader