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Wed, 13 May 2020 8:18am
New funding to support dairy farmers through coronavirus

A new fund will enable eligible dairy farmers in England to access up to £10,000 each to help them overcome the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

England's dairy farmers will be able to access up to £10,000 each to help them overcome the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The new funding will help support dairy farmers – who together continue to produce over 40 million litres of milk every day – who have seen decreased demand for their products as bars, restaurants and cafes have had to close.

Today's announcement is the latest action from the government to support dairy farmers, building on the unprecedented levels of support already announced by the Chancellor and our recent action to temporarily relax some elements of UK competition law to allow suppliers, retailers and logistics providers in the dairy industry to work more closely together on some of the challenges they are facing.

With some dairy farmers facing financial difficulties and excess milk, the new fund will provide support for those most in need. Eligible dairy farmers will be entitled to up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during April and May to ensure they can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

It also comes as the government today backed a £1 million campaign to boost milk consumption and help producers use their surplus stock.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

Our dairy industry plays a crucial role in feeding our nation and we are doing all we can to ensure they are properly supported during this time.

We've already relaxed competition laws so dairy farmers can work together through the toughest months, but recognise there is more to be done. That is why today we have kick started a new campaign to boost milk consumption and have announced a further package of funding.

We will continue to stand alongside our dairy farmers through this difficult period.

The dairy sector is the UK's largest farming sector, with milk accounting for 16.85% of total agricultural output in the UK in 2018. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the dairy industry has faced challenges of excess milk, falling prices, and reduced demand from the hospitality sector.

While many farmers have already rerouted their milk supplies to retailers and supermarkets – which have seen increased demand in recent weeks – today's move will give the farmers in the greatest need the financial assurance to ensure they can remain operational, sustain production capacity and continue to meet animal welfare demands at this time.

Eligible dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible to access this funding for those qualifying months, with no cap set on the number of farmers who can receive this support or on the total funding available.

It comes as the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has today launched a new marketing campaign to increase consumption of milk in UK households, funded jointly by the AHDB, Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Dairy UK.

The £1 million promotional campaign will to help increase sales of dairy products by encouraging the public to drink more milk.

Christine Watts, AHDB's Chief Marketing Officer said:

This new innovative marketing campaign is a fantastic demonstration of what can be achieved when industry and Government join together to meet a common supply chain challenge.

It will support dairy farmers and processors in driving demand for milk within households across the UK. It will link consumers' love of the great taste of milk and dairy with how we are all having to manage these challenging times at home and at work.

The UK's food supply chain remains resilient and the Environment Secretary continues to meet regularly with representatives of the food and farming industry to ensure people can get the food and groceries they need.

Thu, 23 Apr 2020 2:36pm
FSB coronavirus survey now live

FSB latest survey opens for just one week, open to all businesses. Please share amongst networks to ensure that our region is well represented.

FSB has worked tirelessly with Government at the highest level to highlight the significant difficulties faced by small firms during these hugely uncertain times. We successfully lobbied for the package of measures announced by Government to support small firms through the crisis. However, we recognise that many small firms continue to lack the necessary support they need. FSB is committed to working continuously to represent the diverse nature and circumstances of small firms to Government and policy makers as they seek to navigate the crisis, but also as they look towards post-crisis recovery.

In order to get the information we need from the business community, to continue to provide robust evidence to Government, highlighting the myriad problems faced by small firms and seeking solutions, we have launched our Coronavirus Survey.

With this survey we would like to understand the impact that the coronavirus has had on business, thoughts on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and business's role in the community.

This survey is an opportunity to have ensure the voice of local business is heard.

The survey is open to members and non-members and can be found here -

Tue, 07 Apr 2020 1:49pm

The Rural Services Network have compiled a list of responses / new opportunities to the covid-19 crisis from many national funders:

- National Lottery Community Fund: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/about/coronavirus-updates

- National Lottery Heritage Fund: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/news/heritage-emergency-fund-launches-help-sector

- Sport England: https://www.sportengland.org/news/coronavirus-information-sector

- Power to Change: https://www.powertochange.org.uk/get-support/covid-19/

- Arts Council England: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19

- European Structural and Investment Funds: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-structural-and-investment-funds-coronavirus-covid-19-response

- Pledge from a range of funders: http://covid19funders.org.uk/

Mon, 06 Apr 2020 11:56am

With businesses facing unprecedented challenges, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) are continuing to support businesses at this time of challenge. Relevant news and articles from expert consultants both digital and non-digital are available in newsletters and across social media channels. You can access the latest information, advice and downloadable guides on the dedicated hub as well as joining the online Q & A's - Ask the Chamber Live!

The Chamber's Digital Growth Programme team will also be delivering a range of topical webinars from SEO and Social Media to Remote Working and Taking Payments Online. These include:

06 Apr | Using Microsoft Teams to enable effective Remote Working | 2pm - 4pm
07 Apr | Search Engine Optimisation for Local Businesses | 10am - 12pm
08 Apr | Managing the sales process whilst Remote Working | 10am - 12pm
09 Apr | Paid Advertising in the Current Climate | 2pm - 4pm
15 Apr | Maximising your Website's Potential | 10am - 12pm
16 Apr | Optimising your business Facebook page | 10am - 11am
16 Apr | Visual Marketing with Instagram and Pinterest | 2pm - 4pm
17 Apr | Gaining Authority & Ranking in Google (Part 1) | 10am - 12pm
17 Apr | Gaining Authority & Ranking in Google (Part 2) | 2pm - 4pm

Mon, 06 Apr 2020 10:52am

Grants of up to £2,500 (inclusive of VAT) are being made available to support not-for-profit organisations operating in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland if they are:

  • Providing emergency relief to vulnerable or isolated individuals.
  • Providing support to farmers and farm businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • Assisting rural or farming communities to cope with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The grants will assist projects that support farm businesses or other rural business and rural communities to cope with the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19). This many include but is not limited to:

  • Fuel costs for grocery and prescription delivery from rural community shops, pubs, and hubs.
  • Costs associated with emergency support by farm and agricultural support groups.
  • Rural foodbanks and food delivery.

The funding is intended to cover additional costs generated as a result of the response to the coronavirus. Grants could be used for core costs when current income has been lost as a result of the coronavirus, or additional wage costs, or petrol/delivery costs, etc.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon 15 April 2020.

Businesses asked to donate spare PPE to the NHS
Mon, 06 Apr 2020 10:43am

A new campaign has launched, calling on businesses in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to support NHS staff dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The #ppe4nhs campaign is seeking donations of unused PPE from local businesses, particularly those in the engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors.

If your business has cupboards or storerooms with spare brand-new PPE, the NHS desperately needs any supplies they can get.

Businesses are invited to step up as part of their corporate social responsibility and community spirt and donate any spare PPE, without putting their own employees at risk.

There is a specific need for:

  • Any fluid resistant surgical masks including, although not exclusively, FFP2 or FFP3 rated (the rating is marked on each mask).
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Visors or goggles
  • Disposable aprons or overalls

To avoid contact and maintain social distancing companies can book a drop off slot and deliver their donations, at an allocated time.

All donated items will be loaded up and, at the end of each day, delivered to the designated NHS point of contact.

To donate, please e-mail ppe4nhs@hotmail.com to arrange a delivery location and time.

The process that will operate is as follows:

  • We have drop off centres in each county (but are aiming to have one in each district shortly - that's where you come in please!)
  • Anyone wishing to donate will contact us via the email address above.
  • We will then liaise with the donating organisation and the drop off point to arrange a convenient time for the donation to be dropped off.
  • The donating organisation travels to the drop off centre; leaves the donation (and a business card, so we know who's donated) in the agreed place and departs.

The on-site contact at the drop off site then collects the donation then stores the donation; logs who it's from and the quantities of PPE received and sends the details to us (we have a template) before, at the end of each day, or couple of days (depending on quantity) either delivering the received donations to the designated distribution centre at an agreed time or - where we can arrange this - retains the donations until an agreed collection time.

Rural Response to the Coronavirus
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 8:56am
Rural Response to the Coronavirus

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) was declared a global health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organisation on 30th January 2020.

A number of organisations have produced dedicated webpages to help provide Coronavirus updates and advice for the rural community:

NFU - https://www.nfuonline.com/news/coronavirus-updates-and-advice/

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) - https://ahdb.org.uk/coronavirus

Rural Services Network - https://rsnonline.org.uk/tag/coronavirus

The latest national information and announcements can be found on the Gov.uk webpage - https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Leicestershire County Council are also providing local updates here - https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/popular-now/coronavirus-guidance

Green BELLE Phase 2 Now Open - Up To £7,000 Grant Funding For Energy Efficiency Measures in SMEs
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 1:38pm
Green BELLE Phase 2 Now Open - Up To £7,000 Grant Funding For Energy Efficiency Measures in SMEs

phase 2 of Green BELLE is now open – offering grants of up to £7,000 to eligible SMEs in Leicester and Leicestershire towards the cost of energy efficiency measures.

To apply for a Green BELLE grant, please fill in the Expression of Interest form on the Green BELLE website.

Examples of energy efficiency measures that could be funded through Green BELLE include:

  • LED Lighting
  • Heating Systems
  • Lighting or Heating Controls
  • Insulation
  • Energy Efficient Machinery, for example replacement Air Compressors
  • Solar Panels
  • Renewables Energy Systems
  • Heat Pumps
  • Biomass Boilers
  • Energy Storage
  • Building Energy Management Systems

This is not necessarily a full list, and the Green BELLE grant panel will consider other measures that can be shown to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. Green BELLE can also support multiple energy efficiency measures, up to the grant maximum amount.

All Green BELLE grants are 50% match funded, which means that Green BELLE will pay eligible SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) half of the cost towards purchasing and/or installing approved energy efficiency measures in their premises, up to a grant maximum of £7,000. Any additional cost above this grant maximum (i.e. a total cost of £14,000) will also need to be paid for by the SME. Note that a minimum grant amount of £1,000 also applies, so the minimum total cost of the measures is £2,000.

Please refer to the eligibility criteria on the Green BELLE website as well as our Frequently Asked Questions page and About Green BELLE page, for more information. Please also note that all grant applications are subject to approval by the Green BELLE Grant Panel, and that Green BELLE is not able to provide grants towards measures that have already been purchased or installed, or where the installation has already been started. We are also unable to provide grants to SMEs that have already received a Green BELLE grant previously.

The Green BELLE project is managed by Leicester City Council Energy Projects Team. If you have any specific questions you can't find the answer to on the Green BELLE website, please get in touch using the contact details below:


0116 454 2700 / 0116 454 2233



Tue, 07 Jan 2020 10:07am

Are you part of a community group or charity that is looking for some financial support for a project? Then Severn Trent's Community Fund could be perfect for you.

Project themes:

• People: Projects that help people to lead a healthierlife and gain new skills

• Places: Projects that help to create better places to live in and use

• Environment: Projects that will help look after our natural environment, give people greater access to that environment or help look after water

Applications open now!

Fri, 03 Jan 2020 9:00am

The Chancellor has (Monday 30 December) given a welcome boost to UK farmers and rural communities by announcing nearly £3 billion of funding for 2020.

  • this cash injection will maintain the level of funding for Direct Payments at the same rate as last year
  • this will provide certainty for farmers, giving them confidence for next year

Sajid Javid confirmed the cash will be used to support farmers once the UK leaves the EU next year, allowing them to plan for the future, sow their crops and care for their livestock with confidence.

The UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Direct Payments scheme, which supports farmers across Europe with subsidies in 2020. This will be replaced by a new system based on public money for public goods.

The cash injection will allow the funding for Direct Payments for 2020 to continue at the same level as 2019 and supplement the remaining EU funding that farmers will receive for development projects until 2023 at the latest. We will guarantee the current annual budget to farmers in every year of the Parliament.

It is in addition to the £206.6 million of funding awarded since Spending Round to support the farming sector in Scotland and Wales.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, said:

When we leave the EU and are freed from the Common Agricultural Policy, we will be able to support our vital rural communities – who are a cornerstone of life in the UK – with a fairer and less bureaucratic system.

Farmers can enter the New Year with confidence that they have our backing and will be able to thrive after Brexit.

Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers, said:

Outside the EU we will have a simpler, fairer funding system – one that rewards farmers for enhancing our environment and safeguarding our high animal welfare standards.

We are committed to making sure our rural communities feel the benefits of Brexit and will ensure our farmers get a better deal.

The CAP is an EU policy that provides financial support to farmers in Member States. The Direct Payments scheme forms the majority of spending under the CAP and provides subsidies to farmers based on the area of land under management.

The funding announced today will be available from late 2020, as in previous years.

The UK Government will therefore provide £2.852 billion of support, topping up the remaining EU funding, and matching the total funding for Direct Payment available for 2019.

This will provide certainty for the rural economy.

The funding is spread across two financial years. The allocations for each nation of the UK for 2020/21 are:

  • £1,751 million for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • £449 million for the Scottish Government
  • £231 million for the Welsh Government
  • £279 million for the Northern Ireland administration

And for 2021/22:

  • £92 million for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • £24 million for the Scottish Government
  • £12 million for the Welsh Government
  • £15 million for the Northern Ireland administration

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