The Rural Development Programme provides funding to help projects which create jobs and help rural economy growth. These grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) manages the grants, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Grants are available for micro and small businesses in rural areas of between £35,000 and £140,000 (approx. based on Euro exchange rate) for projects including:

TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE; capital investments in the creation of visitor attractions, recreational and small scale infrastructure that will increase visitor spend and attract visitors to stay longer.

FOOD PROCESSING; investments that support growth in local food and drink processing businesses and encourage innovation, higher productivity and skills development.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT;  investments that create jobs and grow micro and small businesses in rural areas.

Grants can cover a maximum of 40% of the total eligible costs of the project, the business will be required to fund the remainder of the project costs using private funding.

There are over 9,000 businesses in rural Leicestershire that provide over 70,000 jobs.  Most of these businesses employ less than 50 people and a significant number are in the food and drink and tourism sectors. Applications from businesses within those sectors are a priority for support.

The final date by which all projects must be finished, paid for and complete grant claims submitted is given as 31 December 2020

Revised RDPE Growth Programme Handbooks have now gone live to view it please click here.

The handbooks include information about each type of grant, as well as:
• who can apply
• how and when to apply
• which specific activities can (and cannot) be claimed for


Before submitting an application for this funding, applicants will need to be registered for Rural Payments. If the applicant is already registered, they will not need to do this again.

The programme is managed by the Rural Payments Agency on behalf of Defra and any technical questions should be directed to them. The Economic Growth Team at Leicestershire County Council are happy to assist with any more general queries such as about local priorities. Contact details are given below.


More information about this funding programme can be found at:


Rural Payments Agency

Tel: 03000 200 301 (Rural Payments helpline)


Peter McLaren

Economic Growth Manager, Leicestershire County Council

Tel: 0116 3053910