Essex Rivers LEADER fund gives their first grant of £86,104

Calcott Hall Farm in Brentwood has received a windfall of £86,104 towards their project to change a currently unused barn into a Café next to their farm shop.

The project to rebuild and extend a redundant barn at Calcott Hall Farm is worth approximately £250,000 and this windfall will mean the project can start immediately, with the prospect of creating six jobs by the end of the year. This investment will enable Calcott Hall Farm Café to serve new and existing customers with produce from the farm and other locally produced items. It will also aim to increase visitors and spend at Calcott Hall Farm Shop which also sells produce from the farm and locally sourced and produced items.

This is the first grant to have been made by the Essex Rivers Local Action Group which has been set up to distribute £1.8million of EU funding to rural businesses and organisations in parts of Essex.  It covers parts of Colchester, Chelmsford, Brentwood, Braintree, Maldon and Rochford local authority areas and the aim of the Defra grant is to help boost growth and create jobs in the countryside.  The Essex Rivers Local Action Group is made up of local community representatives from rural businesses and public bodies and meets every three months to allocate funding.

Robert Davidson, Chairman of the Essex Rivers Local Action Group and himself a local farmer, said: “We were so pleased to support this project. It will create 6 jobs for local people and growth for the farm business which are the main aims of the LEADER grant. ”

Peter McTurk, who will be managing the project for Calcott Hall Farm, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded a LEADER grant to help with the development of our new Cafe at Calcott Hall Farm. New jobs and opportunities will be created and we are all looking forward to the exciting new project.”

Duncan Howie, Vice Chairman of the Essex Rivers Local Action group added: “This is great news for the Essex rural economy and means more jobs and a boost to the community. I urge all rural businesses to find out if they are eligible for LEADER funding.”

Beverly Davies, LEADER Programme Manager, added: “You don’t have to be a business to apply; if you are a farmer, smallholder, forester or are involved in local tourism, you may be eligible for a grant. Just contact me and I will let you know if you are eligible to apply for money for your project.”

For more information contact Beverly Davies at the Rural Community Council of Essex on 01376 547330