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Rural areas benefit from new grants

Grants totalling £230,357 have been allocated to eight local organisations to support rural jobs and improve local facilities.

Carnforth Community Swimming Pool is one of the organisations to receive a grant from the Rural England Prosperity Fund

Carnforth Community Swimming Pool is one of the organisations to receive a grant from the Rural England Prosperity Fund

The package of support is funded by the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) which has been launched as part of the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The REPF supports activities that specifically address challenges rural areas face, such as lower productivity rates, limited connectivity and poorer access to key services. 

Grants are ring-fenced to towns, villages and hamlets with populations below 10,000 and the wider countryside, or market or ‘hub towns’ with populations of up to 30,000 that serve their surrounding rural areas as centres of employment and in providing services.

Councillor Phillip Black, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “I’m delighted that the city council has been able to support these very worthwhile local projects with grants from the Rural England Prosperity Fund.

“Around a third of the Lancaster district’s population live in the countryside and the fund provides much-needed support to help develop their economies and support local facilities.”

The successful projects are:

  • Filbert's Too, a new social enterprise craft bakery in Halton
  • Hare Appletree Farm vending machine
  • Newland Home Farm - stable conversion
  • Silverdale Public Toilets
  • Whinney Hill Farm to support the construction of a social, multi-use hub for the community
  • Carnforth Community Swimming Pool
  • Fraser Village Hall
  • Caton Health Centre: Cycle Scheme

Councillor Peter Jackson, cabinet member with responsibility for communities, well-being and partnerships, added: “The economies of our rural communities have been hit hard over the last few years and if they are to recover and thrive then they need investment and support.

“That’s why grants such as this are so vital, and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to support these businesses and organisations to continue the great work they do in their communities.”

Further opportunities to bid for grants from the fund will be announced in due course. For more information visit

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund replaces the EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched the Rural England Prosperity Fund (Rural Fund), a top up to the UKSPF worth up to £110 million for 2023/24 and 2024/25. It is the domestic replacement for the European funded LEADER Programme used to support the development of rural economies. For more information, visit REPF Prospectus on the Government website. 

Last updated: 18 September 2023

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