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Rural opportunities

Inclusive Sport – Sport England
The Inclusive Sport Fund has been set up by Sport England with £8 million of National Lottery Funding. It will invest in programmes designed to grow the number of disabled young people (age 14+) and adults regularly playing sport. Sport England are looking for innovative, scalable and replicable projects that make it easier and more enjoyable for disabled people to take part in sport and physical activity more often. The deadline for submission of applications is 5pm on the 31 August.

Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS)
The FFIS is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is a scheme of support, developed to help farming, forestry and horticultural businesses in England to become more efficient at using resources. This scheme aims to help make such businesses more profitable and resilient whilst reducing the impact of farming on the environment.
Round 2 of the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) is now open and applicants are advised to read the Applicant Handbook very carefully as some of the conditions and eligible items have changed since Round 1. Applications must be received by 17 July 2012.

Paths for Communities (P4C) – Natural England
Paths for Communities is a funding scheme set up to develop and enhance the network of Public Rights of Way (PROW) in England in order to deliver benefits to rural areas. Local community partnerships are eligible to bid to Natural England for funds.
The aim of P4C is to encourage and support local communities to work with land owners to make improvements to the network of Public Rights of Way. In all cases P4C projects must include some element of new Public Right of Way creation. In most cases projects will include an element of new Bridleway creation but projects that include Footpath creation alone will also be considered where community and economic benefit can be demonstrated. P4C will operate over the 2 year period from May 2012 to March 2014, with a total fund of £2m.

Renewable Heat Premium Payment – Phase 2
The Renewable Heat Premium Payment is a one-off grant designed to help towards meeting the costs of installing renewable heat technologies (e.g. solar thermal panels, heat pumps and biomass boilers) in your home, until the Renewable Heat Incentive is introduced for domestic customers. Phase 2 runs until 31 March 2013. A competition for registered social landlords is now open to bid for money to support the installation of renewable heating systems in social housing stock. The overall budget for this year’s scheme is £10 million. As in the previous competition, the maximum amount per project is set at the sterling equivalent of €200,000. The main aim of the scheme is to encourage the installation of renewable heat technologies, particularly in social housing in off-gas grid areas. All projects will need to be completed by 31st March 2013.

Communitybuilders aims to make sustainable investments in community enterprises to build their long term financial viability and increase their ability to deliver significant social impact in their communities. The Fund will help support exemplar projects which are unique in their offering to local communities, and help long-term regeneration. They must be innovative, enterprising and ambitious.
Communitybuilders is primarily a loan fund and investments will have a minimum 80% loan element. An interest rate of 5% will be charged on the loan.

Inspired Facilities Fund
Through this fund, Sport England aims to provide capital grants to help refurbish or upgrade sports facilities, or convert an existing building into a venue suitable for sport and accessible to the whole community. To qualify for this competitive fund, applicants will need to:
• Show how the project will keep and, ideally, attract more people to sport
• Demonstrate that it is needed and wanted by the local community
• Explain how it will cover its running costs and remain open for sporting use for years to come
The next round closes on 17 September 2012.

Architectural Heritage Fund
The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity founded in 1976 to promote the conservation of historic buildings in the UK. It does this by providing advice, information and financial assistance in the form of grants and low interest working capital loans for projects undertaken by building preservation trust (BPTs) and other charities throughout the UK. Only organisations with charitable status are eligible for financial assistance from the AHF. Any charity with a qualifying project is entitled to apply for an options appraisal grant, or a loan, but the AHF’s other grants are reserved for BPTs – charities established specifically to preserve historic buildings. Financial assistance is available only for buildings that are listed, scheduled or in a conservation area and of acknowledged historic merit. Projects must involve a change either in the ownership of a property or in its use. Applications can be submitted at any time and decisions are usually taken on a quarterly basis.

Traveller Pitch Funding
Traveller Pitch Funding of up to £60m is available as part of the Homes & Communities Agency’s Affordable Housing Programme to support local authorities, housing associations and other delivery partners to provide good quality public sites to help meet the need for accommodation for traveller communities. The HCA has confirmed allocations for £47m of this funding which will support 71 projects around the country, for the provision of new traveller sites and new pitches on existing sites, as well as the improvement of existing pitches.
Details of the bidding process for the remaining £13m Traveller Pitch Funding budget are now due to be announced in June 2012.

Village SOS
Through this scheme the Big Lottery Fund wants to support inspiring business ideas that will bring communities together and support activities or enterprises that tackle the challenges they face. Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 are available in communities with a population of 3000 or less. The fund cannot contribute towards projects that will cost more than £100,000. Applications must be received by 12 September 2012. Applications can be submitted at any time and, if unsuccessful, applicants can re-apply providing this is before the deadline.

Youth Contract
The Government has announced a £1billion Youth Contract to help young unemployed people get a job. The Youth Contract, which launched in April 2012, aims to provide nearly half-a-million new opportunities for 18-24 years olds, including apprenticeships and voluntary work experience placements.
Support will be provided to private and public sector employers to create new and sustainable jobs for young people. The Youth Contract is intended to mark a substantial increase in the support and help available to young people through the Work Programme, Jobcentre Plus and sector-based work academies.

Big Lottery Fund guidance for applicants
Big Lottery Fund is an outcomes funder and is driven by the difference its funding makes for individuals and communities. A ‘Getting Funding and Planning Successful Projects’ guide is available for organisations applying for a Big Lottery Fund grant. It is described as a simple step-by-step introduction to the fundamental concepts and principles required to apply for funding.

All Our Stories
Voluntary and community organisations can apply for between £3000 and £10,000 from the ‘All Our Stories’ scheme. This is described as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage and has been developed by the Heritage Lottery Fund in support of the BBC’s The Great British Story – A People’s History. Funding requests can be made for a variety of activities to explore and learn about heritage including visits to historic buildings, landscapes and sites; using archive, museum and other collections; talking to people who know about heritage; and recording people’s memories or local wildlife; scanning old documents and surveying historic buildings. The deadline for applications is 31 July 2012.

Enhancing Communities Programme – SITA Trust
Enhancing Communities is the name of SITA Trust's funding programme for community improvement projects. Projects can be supported that make physical improvements to community leisure facilities and historic buildings / structures. Not-for-profit organisations including community groups, parish councils, local authorities and charities can apply for projects in any of 115 funding zones around qualifying waste processing sites owned by SITA UK. Grants of up to £60,000 are available through the ‘Core Fund’ and grants up to £20,000 through a ‘Fast Track Fund’. Deadlines for the next rounds are 25 July and 20 August 2012 respectively.

Rural Growth Network Pilots
Defra has announced that 6 Rural Growth Networks will be established utilising a funding pot of £15 million. These Networks will:
• consist of small enterprise hubs on underused business parks or brownfield sites
• provide infrastructure, premises and a simplified planning regime
• offer enhanced networking within and between hubs
• provide targeted support to women-led enterprises
The approved networks are as follows: Cumbria, Devon & Somerset, Durham & Northumberland, Coventry & Warwickshire and Swindon & Wiltshire. Final details of the schemes to operate in each Network are currently being agreed.