Small rural businesses across the Winchester, East Hampshire and Eastleigh areas have benefited from almost £750,000 of funding from an EU scheme co-ordinated locally by Winchester City Council.
In total, 32 rural businesses and organisations have received the valuable financial support, including the D-Day Memorial Hall in Southwick and Meon Valley Cider in West Meon.
LEADER funding exists to support the regeneration of rural communities and individuals with local knowledge are involved in key decisions about how funds are spent.
The grants were allocated from EU LEADER funds by the Fieldfare Local Action Group made up of local business owners, community organisers and local residents.
Cllr Anne Weir, Cabinet Member for local economy, said
“This funding has enabled us to support businesses across three local authority areas, helping to create jobs and regenerate rural communities.
“Many of the projects we have also improved the sustainability of rural businesses, helping them save money and reduce their carbon footprint.”
Charlotte Johnson, of Meon Valley Cider, added:
“We are delighted to have received a LEADER grant for our pasteurisation and packaging line. This will enable us to improve profitability substantially and allow us to develop a range of new products with much more flexible operational capabilities.
“It will also reduce carbon emissions by allowing us to package our draft products on site, instead of using an outside packager.”
Applications for LEADER funding have now closed.