Council secures major funding to boost local rural economy

Published: 07 Sep 2022

•	Local farmer David Exwood at his farm shop near Itchingfield with Cllr Wright

Rural communities and businesses across Horsham District are set to benefit from significant new funds awarded to Horsham District Council from the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) to the tune of some £800,000 over the next two years.

The REPF forms part of the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund which recognises the unique strengths and challenges of rural communities and will support them to invest and grow their economies. For Horsham District the majority of the area is rural and plays an important role in the health of the overall local economy.

Horsham District Council is one of only two councils in West Sussex to secure the funding which supports capital projects for small businesses and community infrastructure in the rural environment.

Work will now progress on identifying the challenges and opportunities for our rural businesses with the submission of our priorities for the fund being made by 30 November 2022.

Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs Cllr James Wright commented:

It is fantastic to have been awarded this funding to address the rural productivity gap, this will create levelling-up opportunities for our rural district and the Horsham countryside that we are proud to call home.

The Rural England Prosperity Fund has awarded us over £800K over the next two years specifically to grow Farming and Rural Businesses.

We will be sharing details of our priorities for investment in our rural communities later this autumn.

West Sussex NFU chair Dominic Gardner, who farms at Horsham and at Patching, near Worthing, said:

It’s great that Horsham District Council is actively embracing and promoting funding being made available through the Rural England Prosperity Fund to help the development and growth of rural businesses.

This will help to ensure that rural communities can continue to produce climate-friendly food, providing access to our beautiful Sussex countryside and contributing to the rural economy. In line with ‘levelling up’ policies from central government, this funding should help with everything from digital connectivity to improving property.

Pictured: Local farmer David Exwood at his farm shop near Itchingfield with Cllr Wright