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Fri, 13 Sep 2019 9:37am

As part of the government's £67 million investment commitment to make a "full fibre Britain", Leicestershire businesses and homes have the opportunity to apply for two broadband vouchers that cover the cost of upgrading to a ultra-fast broadband network.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is open to communities with residential properties and business who, together, can apply for vouchers worth up to £3000 per small or medium sized business and £500 per residents, to support the capital costs of upgrading their broadband and gigabit capable connections.

The Rural Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is aimed at business and residents in some of the hardest-to-reach places in the UK. Rural premises, experiencing speeds below 30 Megabits per second (Mbps), will be eligible for between £500 and £3,500 per small and medium-sized businesses (SME) and between £500 and £1,500 per resident to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections.

The UK now has 95% coverage for superfast broadband with speeds of 24 megabits per second or higher. However, most superfast connections still depend on copper telephone wires, which are limited in the speeds they can support. For the fastest and most reliable broadband, capable of delivering gigabit speeds, a full fibre connection is required.

One gigabit is the same as 1,000 megabits – so it's a big leap forward in connection speeds that could benefit you and your business into the future. Full fibre also supports symmetrical connections – meaning your upload and download speeds can be the same.

These schemes are part of a wider government plan to get more homes and businesses connected to full fibre broadband and forms part of the Government's commitment to make superfast broadband available to at least 10 million homes and businesses by 2022.

Full fibre connections are faster, more reliable and cheaper to operate than traditional copper lines, and are capable of supporting not only gigabit, but terabit and even petabit speeds, which will serve the UK far into the future. Currently only around 3% of UK premises have access to a full fibre connection.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said:

"We're backing Britain's small businesses by investing £67 million to bring full-fibre broadband to more businesses up and down the country. This means faster, more reliable broadband access as we build the digital infrastructure we need to make our economy fit for the future".

For full details about whether you are eligible for a voucher go to:


Fri, 13 Sep 2019 8:28am

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Leicester and Leicestershire can take advantage of a £1.62m skills training fund to upskill their workforce.

The training is delivered as part of a programme called Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW), which Serco's Employment, Skills & Enterprise business is managing across Leicester and Leicestershire. Under the 28-month programme which launched in April, Serco will work in partnership with Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) to provide skills development that focuses on upskilling employees in key priority

sectors as identified in the LLEP's strategic economic plan;

  • Engineering & advanced manufacturing
  • Food & drink manufacturing
  • Textiles manufacturing
  • Logistics & distribution
  • Tourism & hospitality
  • Creative industries
  • Low carbon
  • Professional & financial services
  • Health & social care
  • Sports & physical activity

Through SSW, eligible businesses can benefit from funded training, tailored to their specific needs. Training is flexible and businesses can select full qualifications or mix and match individual units that are directly relevant to their work. Previous SSW programme participants have benefited from increased employee confidence, motivation and productivity and improved employee loyalty and retention.

Businesses can contact Serco on skillssupport@serco.com or visit www.serco-ssw.com for more details and to find out if they are eligible for funded training through Skills Support for the Workforce.

> More details for businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire.

Mon, 12 Aug 2019 9:58am

Farmers and rural businesses are being given the opportunity to build bespoke wi-fi networks for better mobile phone and broadband connectivity.

Ofcom, the UK's telecom regulator, has announced that start-up and small businesses are now able to apply for shared-access airwaves – or "spectrums" – which were previously restricted to major mobile operators.

Under the new rules, villages, small business groups and other communities can apply to access airwaves that are licensed to the major mobile companies, but not currently used by them locally.

See - https://www.fwi.co.uk/machinery/technology/ofcom-opens-up-airwaves-to-improve-rural-connectivity

RCC Impact e-Magazine
Mon, 12 Aug 2019 8:30am

Please see attached for Rural Community Council's quarterly e-magazine, 'Impact', providing an overview of their latest activities across rural Leicestershire and Rutland.

Fri, 12 Jul 2019 10:51am
Rural Community Energy Fund

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF), is a £15 million programme, jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS). It supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community.

The Rural Community Energy Fund, (previously administered by WRAP through DEFRA), has had some changes made to it. The most significant change being that Stage one and Stage two are both grants, there is no longer a loan element to the scheme.

The RCEF Guidance notes and Application forms are now finalised for Stage 1 applications, see the attachment for:

  • Pre-application questionnaire
  • Guidance Notes Stage 1
  • Guidance on Stage 1 Assessment Criteria
  • Stage 1 grant application
  • Feasibility Study Structure

If you feel that you meet the criteria, please complete and return the Pre-application questionnaire. The Midlands Energy Hub will then contact you and guide you through the application process.

Please note the first deadline for applications to the Midlands Energy Hub is 9th September 2019.

For more information contact:

Michael Gallagher
Regional Energy Projects Manager
Midlands Energy Hub


Fri, 12 Jul 2019 8:48am

The Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme Round 2 is now available for all farm types including livestock, horticulture and arable businesses, with a total of £15 million available.

This round is open for just 8 weeks.

The RDPE Countryside Productivity Scheme provides funding for projects in England which improve productivity in the farming and forestry sectors and help create jobs and growth in the rural economy. Under the RDPE Countryside Productivity Scheme, there are grants for:

  • small grants
  • water resource management and reservoirs
  • improving forestry productivity
  • adding value to Agri-food
  • improving farm productivity

The grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). It is administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

Attention Businesses: Business Breakfast event as part of a major consultation on Leicestershire County Council’s future plans and priorities
Wed, 03 Jul 2019 3:47pm
Attention Businesses: Business Breakfast event as part of a major consultation on Leicestershire County Council’s future plans and priorities

A major consultation has launched on Leicestershire County Council's future plans and priorities. Since 2010, the council has saved £200m but increasing demand for services, plus uncertainty over Government funding, means the council needs to save another £75m over the next four years. Working with businesses is vital and we're holding a business breakfast on Friday 19 July to give you more information on our budget context and the drivers for the consultation.

The event is taking place from 08:00 – 9:30 on Friday 19 July in Sparkenhoe Committee Room at County Hall (Glenfield LE3 8RA) - refreshments will be provided.

This is the first major budget consultation since 2013 so this will be a valuable opportunity for you to share your views and raise any queries.

Please register for the event at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicestershires-priorities-business-breakfast-tickets-64600872950

You can find out more about the consultation at: www.leicestershire.gov.uk/priorities

If you need more information or have any questions please email priorities@leics.gov.uk.

Mon, 01 Jul 2019 2:03pm

An Independent Review that will support the development of a National Food Strategy has been launched. The Independent Review is being led by Defra's lead Non-Executive Director Henry Dimbleby, who will collect evidence and consult with a wide range of individuals and organisations that are involved in or directly affected by our food system. He will then present his findings and recommendations to Government.

What is the National Food Strategy?

Food is central to our culture and national identity, with one in eight of us earning our livelihood through food. Being a nation that can feed itself is a vital part of our national sense of belonging. There are a number of challenges that cut across our food system around the environment, food security, farming, health and much more. These issues raise a number of policy questions for Government.

The purpose of the National Food Strategy is to build on the work underway in the Agriculture Bill, the Environment Bill, the Fisheries Bill, the Industrial Strategy and the Childhood Obesity Plan to create an overarching strategy for government which will set out the kind of food system we should be building for the future, and a plan for how to achieve that vision.

Where can I find out more?

The Terms of Reference for the Strategy have now been published here. The Terms of Reference outlines the purpose of the Strategy, the scope of the work and how it will be run.

Henry Dimbleby's team have also set up an external website www.nationalfoodstrategy.org.

Thu, 27 Jun 2019 2:30pm

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a £10 million programme which supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects, which provide economic and social benefits to the community.

RCEF provides support to rural communities in 2 stages:

  • stage 1: grants of up to £40,000 for a feasibility study for a renewable energy project
  • stage 2: grants of up to £100,000 for business development and planning of feasible schemes

How to apply

RCEF is being run by 5 regional Local Energy Hubs. If you would like to register your interest for the scheme, or would like further information, please contact michael.gallagher@nottinghamcity.gov.uk, who is the lead in Midlands area.

Wed, 26 Jun 2019 3:28pm

A significant proportion of the budget for the Leicestershire Holiday Activities and Food Programme has now been awarded to 20 projects.

However, there is still funding available as not all of the available budget has been fully allocated.

It has therefore been agreed to re-open the Grant Programme, with a second deadline of Friday 5th July.

The programme is specifically targeted to offer provision to children who are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM), for four hours a day, four days a week, for four weeks (4:4:4).

The aim of the programme is to provide funding to organisations who can deliver school holiday provision for children (and where appropriate, their parents) to achieve the following:

  • to eat more healthily over the summer holidays;
  • to be more active over the summer holidays;
  • to take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing and other skills;
  • to be safe and not to be socially isolated;
  • to have greater knowledge of health and nutrition; and
  • to be more engaged with school and other local services and to have greater knowledge and awareness of local free holiday provision.

Full details including guidance notes and application form can be found at:


Displaying 11 to 20 of 304

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