Tag Archives: Grants

EU grants for Business Development still available!

Dear business owners and managers,

There is some good news to end the year on! EU grants are still available to help you grow your business!  Good Luck for a prosperous 2018!

Councillor Vic Ient

Capital Funding for Businesses and Social Enterprises

Small and Medium-sized businesses including Social Enterprises who earn at least half most of their income through trading can apply for two local funds. 

The ‘South East Business Boost, an EU European Regional Development Fund programme can fund up to 30% of a capital project from new equipment and machinery to new technology and processes if it helps grow the enterprise. Maximum grants are for between £1,000 and £10,000 and require 70% match funding from the recipient organisation. 

Applications to South East Business Boost can be made anytime, up until June 2019.

For more information and to apply: www.businesseastsussex.org.uk/south-east-business-boost/

East Sussex Invest 5 is also available if you require more funding for capital items that will result in job growth within the next 12 months.

  • Grants from £15,000 to £40,000 – require minimum match funding of 60%
  • Loans from £10,000 to £200,000 – require minimum match funding of 50%
  • There is an additional grant of £1,500 for a new accredited apprentice position.

There is a total of £900,000 available for loans and £300,000 for grants per financial year until 2020. 

For more information and to apply: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/business/developing/finance/grants/

C7 Safety Campaign

Dear Residents,

Here is an update for on the C7 Safety campaign group. In July 2015 I reported that the Parishes of the Lower Ouse (POLO) had supported me in the setting up of a working group for all of the residents in the parishes in the lower Ouse Valley to investigate solutions to the problems of safety and traffic calming all along the C7 road. During 2015/2016 a number of workshop meetings were held with residents & parishes to document the issues. Comments and suggestions were documented in a series of drawings and list. I circulated and publish this information in January 2017. Click here to see the charts and report.

During the autumn of 2016 ESCC Highways met with POLO and positively responded to the research work we had been carrying out. Earlier this year I met with the ESCC Highways Department and discussed in what way they could assist the community in improving the traffic calming and safety measures along the road.  This report summarises my discussions with ESCC and proposes further steps towards pulling together a fully documented and costed plan to tackle the road issues. Here are my notes:

East Sussex County Council:

  • Are willing to help the community find a suitable highways design consultancy who could put together a safety and traffic calming strategy for the C7. ESCC have promised to send a list of consultants we may wish to work with.
  • Are going to carry out a survey this summer of the whole road detailing minor improvements and maintenance upgrades for things like signs & markings. This survey will also refer to possible other minor improvements for safety purposes. Once this survey is complete quotations will be obtained from their approved contractor and a proposal for implementation will be submitted (internally in the ESCC) so that work can go ahead.
  • Have now made detailed comments on our list of proposed safety and traffic calming measures. Here is a copy of that list, (click to download): C7 List of Comments 2016 POLO with ESCC info
  • Are willing to attend one of our workshop meetings to discuss their comments. We have agreed a date of the 2nd August at  6 PM. Please join us. please send an email to me & I will confirm the venue.  This meeting is open to all the parishes and residents in the valley.

However we can’t just rely on progressing things through one small department in the ESCC. As I have said before, the community needs to lead on this issue and produce a strategy and a plan for implementing safety and traffic calming measures. I have already proposed the production of a safety strategy document for the road which should be accompanied by a design/finance plan. As members of POLO may remember a proposal to engage a design consultant was discussed last year and the POLO Clerk put out a request to the parishes to support the cost of producing the design document bearing in mind that the district council (click here for further info) had agreed to fund 50% of the £2000 cost. I am not sure which parishes agreed to help with the cost or if the particular consultant proposed is still the preferred supplier.

Rationale behind a strategy & financial plan: Some improvements will come through the normal county council maintenance budget. Residents just need to make sure they report maintenance items but other measures will be more costly and will require funding from the county council, parishes or/and from a combination of organisations, possibly including the Local Enterprise Partnership (which deals with applications for funding locally on behalf of the government) or/and from special charities and other organisations. all of these organisations will require an application proposal and an estimate of costs. That is why we need a strategy plan and financial costings . Once we have these we can approach the organisations for funding . Hopefully we will be able to do this in by this autumn such that funds can be allocated in the next financial year ( 2018/19).

I will continue to work on the C7 safety issues and I am pleased to say that Joe Attwood (joe.attwood@btinternet.com) has volunteered to become the C7 Safety project coordinator. I’m looking forward to working with him to produce the safety plan for the road. We have set up a workshop meeting for 5 July at 6 PM. Please join us.  Please send an email to me & I will confirm the venue. This meeting is open to all the parishes and residents in the valley.

In parallel with the continuing work we shouldn’t forget that there’s always an opportunity for everyone to help improve things on the road. Here is some information:

Sources of Finance: Hopefully we will be able to find a volunteer who can research the different sources of funding. There may be just a short window of time available for applications to the EU as existing programmes run to the year 2020. However, apart from the county council, we will need some research into how one makes applications to the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Parish Councils: In parallel to this initiative the parishes (​Kingston, Iford, Rodmell, Southease  & Piddinghoe) and residents association (Kingston Road) continue with their own actions. I hope residents will discuss safety and traffic calming measures with their own parish council or association.

Report it: If you see a sign, pothole or verge which needs repairing or maintaining please use the automated reporting system. Click here for information and links

Accidents: Many people are keeping a log of accidents along the road and I hope you’ll share this at the workshop meeting

Speeding –  This is of concern to many people, the question is proving it! I hope we can get police, albeit with their scarce resources, to devote some time to the C7. In addition, there are a number of ways to kick off an initiative in your area. Here are some websites which may be of interest: Information on reducing speeding

Enforcing the weight & width restriction: Luckily past councillors for the ward got a weight restriction implemented for the C7.  A width restriction exists on the C324 through Kingston. Some residents feel these regulations are being broken. Ways of reporting and enforcement could be discussed by all the parishes.

Traffic Calming:  Volunteers are needed to research traffic calming measures. Here is a link of what I have found:   https://www.evernote.com/pub/vic182/trafficcalming

Other initiatives?

Road: I’m following up on the future of the A27 especially the section from the Ashcombe roundabout to Beddingham. Whether or not the A27 is turned into a motorway east of Lewes changes are needed to the three roundabouts at Ashcombe, Southerham & Beddingham to encourage the traffic to take the A26 to Seaford and Newhaven rather than the C7. I’m attending a seminar with Highways England on 10 July in London to follow this up.

Rail: I’ve already put my views forward concerning the reopening of the Lewes to Uckfield line. I am continuing to follow this up and support the initiative by Railfuture. Also I would like to see, linked parking/ticketing initiatives at stations in Sussex to persuade drivers to take the train.

Bus: I would like to see the introduction of Sunday services and an extension to their 123 service along the valley. To persuade drivers to take the bus instead of the train I would like to see an express coach service operating between Brighton, Lewes and Eastbourne along the A27 rather than just the busy coastal road

PS:  Swanborough

As some of you will know a planning application has been submitted and approved for holiday lodges next to the fishing lakes in Swanborough. Click here to see my report.

One of the good things that come out of this development is that the National Park have made a condition that a section 106 agreement must be signed before the development can start. We hope this will provide for some footpaths and safety measures on the C7. Here is the latest map showing the developers proposals for cycle/footways: (click to enlarge)

 

Where is ESCC Rural Cycling & Walking Investment?

Cycle Walk ImageFor a number of years I’ve been campaigning for more safety measures and improvements for cyclist and walkers. Since I became a district councillor I have continued to speak up for alternatives to simply getting in the car and driving everywhere. The car is essential but since the creation of county councils their focus has been on providing roads. The last coalition government with Lib Dem ministers in office re-balanced the focus to include provision for cyclists & walkers. Sadly now we are almost back to square one with the current Conservative government. Luckily, the Conservatives didn’t get rid of all of the Lib Dem policies. The funding grants made available by the Lib Dems in government were removed but were replaced with a ‘cycling and walking strategy.’

Albeit with much reduced funds, the government, last year, called for bids from county councils for both capital and revenue projects covering cycling and walking. Unlike West Sussex, East Sussex County Council simply did not bid for the capital funding. However they did bid for revenue funding. However, having won the money they decided to focus all of the investment in the coastal urban areas leaving out the towns and villages in our countryside.  It’s great that the County Council has been successful in winning funding for cycling and walking but I’m very disappointed to see that these funds will only be able to be spent in the Newhaven, Eastbourne, South Wealden, Bexhill and Hastings areas. Of course, I’m pleased for those areas”.

Earlier last year I met with officers of East Sussex County Council and pleaded with them to include schemes to improve safety for walkers and cyclists using and crossing the dangerous C7 road which connects Lewes to Newhaven.  Sadly they ignored my pleas leaving my rural area without funding as well as Lewes and much of the rest of the county.

I aim to continue the campaign and hope that the political composition of the county council changes in May this year so we can make some real progress right across the county. In the meantime if you agree with me and want to see funding shared between urban and rural areas for cycling and walking please write to:

Cllr Carl Maynard, county council lead member for transport and environment, and let him know that you want fairer treatment for the rural areas to improve safety for both walkers and cyclists. email: cllr.carl.maynard@eastsussex.gov.uk  You can read his press release here about the allocation to the urban coastal towns:  http://news.eastsussex.gov.uk/2017/01/26/funding-boost-for-walking-and-cycling-schemes/

Here is a copy of a recent press article about this issue. Also below is an article published last year in the Sussex Express about the same issue

Click to enlarge:

vic-ient-sussex-express-fri-03-02-17

Sussex express article Feb 2017

Here is a link to an article in the Sussex Express from last year on cycling & walking: http://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/lewes-councillor-calls-for-urgent-cyclepath-funding-1-7493718

 

Finding Funds for a Community Project

With government cuts,  funding for local projects seems more unlikely but all is not lost. There is still a chance that your village or organisation could find help with funding.   Here are five possible ways to get funds that could help your community, rural business or parish council. Below I provide information and links on – LEADER grants (EU Fund for Rural Development),  grants from the Community Safety Partnership,  Sustainable Communities Fund from the South Downs National Park, Matched Funding, Funding from our LEP and some useful links:

EU RuralLEADER grants (EU Fund for Rural Development)

In January this year I  wrote about funding for rural communities available from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. It goes under the name  ‘LEADER.’   Grants are available to promote the rural economy. The awards have just been made for Sussex, click here to see the article. These grants include:

  • Renovation and conversion of a disused farm building into bunkhouse style accommodation for cyclists and walkers using the South Downs Way;
  • Forestry equipment to help meet the increasing demand for woodchip for biomass boilers;
  • A new website and e-commerce system to improve the customer experience and increase online sales;
  • Expansion of a micro-brewery to enable increased production of their specialist craft beers.

In the recent period grants worth almost £153,000 have been awarded! If your village, community, business or organisation want to apply visit the website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk/leadergrants

The Central Sussex and Sussex Downs & Coastal Plain Local Action Groups (LAGs) have a total of £2.5 million to support projects in rural West Sussex and Lewes District.

ESSafeGrants from the Community Safety Partnership

Earlier in March this year I wrote about the Community Safety Partnership.  It is possible to apply for a grant from this scheme to help fund a local ‘safety’ project in your community or area. Projects could include road safety, buying a defibrillator or crime prevention. I believe funds are still available for this year so it you want to help your community click here  or contact me click here

SDNPSustainable Communities Fund

Grants are available from the South Downs National Park under this heading.  Any group or other ‘not for profit ‘ organisations which include social enterprise, community interest companies or voluntary organisations can apply for funding if they believe their project is bringing social, environmental, economic or cultural benefits to a community within the National Park. Grants are available up to £10,000. Click here for more information

Matched Funding

With the reduction of Government funding for highways and associated footpaths more responsibility falls on parish councils. ESCC operates a ‘matched funding’ scheme. This scheme helps parishes part pay for improvements with the balance coming from the County Council.

coasttocapital-logoFunding provided by Coast to Capital LEP

County Councils are not the main organisation for funding of road and transport infrastructure any more. The Government are now channelling new infrastructure investment through Local Enterprise Partnerships – the one for our area is Coast to Capital LEP. They say good transport networks are vitally important for a high performing economy. They also say that they want to help people to get to work, to the shops and to school and that they are committed to improving public transport, walking and cycling.  I believe local communities should contact our LEP to try and get them to fund schemes in our local area. For more information click here

 

Useful links for funding (click on the headings for links)

The Institute of Fundraising is the professional membership body for UK fundraising. Their mission is to support fundraisers.

Lottery Funding 

Action in Rural Sussex – contact them for help and advice

Heritage Funding Directory

Grants to promote the rural economy from European Agricultural Fund

IMG_0318LEADER grants are available from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development to promote the rural economy. Boosting productivity and growth is a priority so grants must be used to develop business, create jobs and increase tourism. Defra has more information on the grants. The funding is awarded to successful applicants within LAG (Local Action Group) areas. The local group for our part of Sussex is: ‘Central Sussex’ – contact details:

Richard Chalk  rdpeleader@westsussex.gov.uk  ( 0330 22 23845)  Click here for web site.

All projects must support one or more of the 6 LEADER priorities. These are to:

  • support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
  • boost rural tourism
  • increase farm productivity
  • increase forestry productivity
  • provide rural services
  • provide cultural and heritage activities