SMALL farms and enterprises in the Cumbria Fells and Dales, and the Solway, Border and Eden areas, are being urged to apply for funding support.

Carlisle-based H&H Land & Estates is encouraging local organisations to apply for an exciting opportunity to gain funding for farm diversification, community and social enterprises, new business start-ups and micro business expansion.

The fund is offering between £2,500 and £20,000 to eligible businesses and applicants who can apply for funds to cover up to 40 per cent of the project’s costs.

Eligibility is for various types of organisations with a specific focus on:

n farm businesses diversifying into non-standard farming or adding value to product;

n and farmers and their immediate families looking to diversify into non-farming activity.

The fund, managed by The Cumbria Fells and Dales and Solway Border and Eden Local Action Group, has secured an extension allowing returned funds to be reallocated to new projects and is now in a position to launch a ‘Call for Projects under Priority two – Support for micro and small businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification’.

Jonathan Hird, chartered surveyor for H&H Land & Estates, sees the fund as a real opportunity for farming communities in eligible areas to secure funding for their new business ideas.

“This funding pot exists to maximise the benefits to the local area,” he said, “so we would encourage all agri-businesses to take full advantage of the funds available to them in order to invest in farm diversification, provide alternative income streams and also allow investment into your existing farming business.

“Any farmer considering diversifying is advised to check if they are eligible and, if so, put in an Expression of Interest (EOI) application as the funds on offer really can make a big difference. Once the EOI application has been reviewed, you will be invited forward to do a full application if your EOI is deemed to be eligible.”

Further details about how to apply can be found at The deadline for Expression of Interest is noon on Tuesday, January 14 2020 with a deadline for full applications of Wednesday, March 25. The timescales are very tight, therefore H&H are advising not to delay in submitting an Expression of Interest application.

H&H Land & Estates has offices in Carlisle, Kendal, Durham, Penrith, Keswick, Cockermouth, Grange-over-Sands and Newtown St Boswells. They offer a wide range of expertise in every aspect of rural property across the North of England, the Borders and South West Scotland.