Are You Eligible for Funding from the Rural Prosperity Fund?

15 February 2024

Launched by the Uk government in 2022 to help develop and invest in rural areas, the Rural Prosperity Fund is available in a selection of counties across the UK. The goal of the fund is to “level up” the opportunity and prosperity or rural businesses, and overcoming deep-seated geographical inequalities that have held us back for too long. The primary goal of the UKSPF is to build pride in place and increase life chances across the UK. 

The new £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), succeeds the old EU structural funds. These funds will go straight to local places right across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to invest in three local priorities:

  • Communities and Place
    The Communities and Place investment priority will enable places to invest to restore their community spaces and relationships and create the foundations for economic development at the
    neighbourhood-level. The intention of this is to strengthen the social fabric of communities, supporting in building pride in place.
  • Supporting Local Business
    The Supporting Local Business investment priority will enable local areas to fund interventions that support local businesses to thrive, innovate and grow.
  • People and Skills
    Through the People and Skills investment priority, places can use their funding to help reduce the barriers economically inactive people face to employment and support them to move towards employment and education. Places can also target funding into skills for local areas to support employment and local growth.

The fund allocation will be handed to local authorities with leaders free to allocate funds as they see fit to unleash the unique potential for businesses and projects in their local areas where the local priorities are evident, and each authority will have flexibility to invest across a range of activities. Equestrian businesses and projects have already benefitted from the scheme to develop their activities, facilities and initiatives, on both a charitable and non charitable basis.

Every place in the UK has been allocated a share of the UKSPF, with even the smallest places receiving at least £1 million. This recognises that even the most affluent parts of the UK contain pockets of deprivation and need support. It will help people access opportunity in places in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and support people who are economically inactive or have skills needs that cannot be meet through mainstream provision.

Applications need to be detailed and include information on local challenges or opportunities that have been identified, what you want to delivery and by what means you intend to do so, project costings and supporting evidence. Applications may also be subject to geographical eligibility.

The funding period runs until March 2025. If local authorities have funding available, this should be detailed on their own website (ie county council websites)

You can find out if your local authority is part of the UKSPF here: UKSPF Delivery Geographies

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