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Tue, 04 Dec 2012 2:01pm
Grants for new public paths to help rural areas & businesses

Grants for the creation of new bridleways or footpaths – to attract visitors and improve local facilities - are on offer to communities, organisations and rural businesses. Natural England's £2 million 'Paths for Communities' scheme is now being highlighted by the Leicestershire Local Access Forum.

Farm shop-cafes or rural visitor venues could create walks as added-attractions; riding centres might gain more bridleways by getting footpaths upgraded; and villages could pursue new routes to make the local path network better connected and more attractive.

Forum Chairman Roy Denney said: "In numerous other counties multi-purpose routes for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders are attractions in their own right; the Tissington Trail being one classic example They boost the local economy with visitors using local shops, pubs, B&Bs, cycle hire and equestrian businesses.

"Natural England wants 'Paths for Communities' projects across the whole country. The Access Forum is keen to see partnerships come forward with suggested projects so that Leicestershire benefits from this opportunity."

The competitive scheme involves rural landowners and businesses working together on bids with community groups and local councils. Projects must also raise 25% 'match funding', which could include volunteer labour but not money from public sources.

The new public rights of way must be agreed with the relevant landowners, but the grant money can cover one-off payments to facilitate this. Projects must be completed by April 2014, favouring straight-forward bids with clear benefits and supportive landowners.

The scheme is for rural locations which means places with less than 10,000 population. Natural England has local grant officers to help partnerships with applications. Full details are on the web at: http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/access/rightsofway/p4c.aspx
For additional information on the Paths for Communities scheme please contact the Natural England Local Grants Officer for the Midlands, Angela Smith on Mobile: 07900 608 329 or email: angela.smith@naturalengland.org.uk

For further information - Leicestershire Local Access Forum: The Access Forum is a statutory body that brings together representatives of all the different groups with interests in countryside access, including farmers and landowners, and users such as walkers and riders. The Forum is entirely independent although the County Council provides administrative support. For further information see: www.leicslaf.org.uk or email: information@leicslaf.org.uk

Food and Drink iNet offers free business support
Fri, 30 Nov 2012 8:39am
Food and Drink iNet offers free business support

Food and drink firms across theEast Midlandsare being urged to take advantage of free business support available from the Food and Drink iNet.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the region.

The first element of that support is to meet and discuss business needs and provide impartial advice and guidance on how to grow through innovation. It can then lead to accessing grants and specialist expertise.

Since 2008, the iNet has given hundreds of hours of free advice to food and drink manufacturing firms across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire,Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire andRutland, which has led to innovation projects being launched.

The iNet is urging established small and medium-sized companies who work across the supply chain to get in touch to find out more about the help on offer.

In the past, the iNet has provided free 'business assist' support to a wide range of companies including bakers, butchers, chocolate makers, snack manufacturers, ice cream makers, and drinks manufacturers, as well as businesses that 'supply into' the sector, such as workwear specialists, consultants who work in the food and drink industry and those who manufacture items for the sector.

The Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by The Food and Drink Forum and includingNottinghamTrentUniversity, theUniversityofLincoln, and theUniversityofNottingham. It is based atSouthgladeFoodPark,Nottingham, with advisors covering theEast Midlandsregion.

For more information about the iNet visit www.foodanddrink-inet.org.uk or contact the iNet on info@foodanddrink-inet.org.uk

New funding to help communities take control through enterprise
Wed, 28 Nov 2012 8:21am
New funding to help communities take control through enterprise

Rural communities across theUK are set to benefit from a new injection of funding to help them revive their villages through community enterprise. The Plunkett Foundation has been awarded over £450,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to create a new comprehensive support service for rural communities considering setting up or diversifying community-owned services – like shops and pubs – to help turn the tide on rural decline.

The funding will provide a much needed boost for communities considering community ownership, and will provide a combination of adviser support, training, feasibility grants, and opportunities for networking with other community enterprises.

The support is specifically focused at the early stage of a community's ideas, and will help them progress to the next stage. Eligibility for support will depend on communities aiming to raise at least £10,000 themselves through community shares and support will be given to ensure communities are creating viable and sustainable businesses that engage the whole community.

This new service will open for applications on the 3rd December 2012, and Plunkett encourages rural communities who need support for their enterprises to contact them directly for more information via 01993 810730 or by emailing info@plunkett.co.uk

Celebration: Developing Local Solutions to Local Needs
Fri, 09 Nov 2012 12:15pm
Celebration: Developing Local Solutions to Local Needs

Date: Wednesday 28th November 2012, 6:30pm
Venue: The Salvation Army Conference Centre, Ladysmith Road (off Saffron Road) South Wigston LE18 4UZ.

Volunteers, community groups and community activists are warmly invited to attend a celebration to show-case successful community-led projects around Leicestershire and Rutland.

The event is to celebrate the fantastic achievements made in communities by community groups and volunteers; it will also be an opportunity to share good practice and promote community initiatives.

The programme will include inspirational speakers from successful community projects, information for voluntary and community groups about current funding opportunities, refreshments and a 'market place' with stalls.

In present times, with less funding and reductions in public services, communities are becoming more self-reliant, entrepreneurial and creative.

We hope this celebration will inspire community groups!

The event is part of the Big Society Network Project, a partnership between the Rural Community Council, Voluntary Action LeicesterShire and Voluntary Action Rutland.

Booking Essential to book a place, please follow the link: http://www.ruralcc.org.uk/uploads/developinglocalsolutions.htm

Or email Cath via: cwalker@ruralcc.org.uk or 0116 268 9711.

Neighbourhood Planning Networking Event
Wed, 07 Nov 2012 12:28pm
Neighbourhood Planning Networking Event

A Neighbourhood Planning Networking Event will be held at Leicestershire County Council on Tuesday 20th November 2012 starting at 5:30pm. The workshop is open to any communities thinking about developing a Neighbourhood Plan or that have started one. The workshop will include advice and good practice from current Leicestershire Front Runners on getting started, communication and how to organise a stakeholder event. Speakers include the Department of Communities and Local Government, Local Planning consultants supporting front runners and the Rural Community Council who can provide support and advice during the Neighbourhood Planning process. There will also be an opportunity to network with front runners, local planners and other communities interested in developing a Neighbourhood Plan to share positive experiences that can be recommended or discuss problems that have been encountered and how they were overcome.

If you would like to book a place please contact Sophie Davies at sophie.davies@leics.gov.uk or Sarah McCartney at sarah.mccartney@leics.gov.uk

New Homes Bonus for Sapcote residents
Fri, 26 Oct 2012 12:05pm
New Homes Bonus for Sapcote residents

A £1.6m scheme to develop twelve new affordable homes in the village of Sapcote has been completed.

East Midlands Housing Group has built the homes, with funding from Leicestershire County Council and Blaby District Council.

The houses were built on a rural exception site after a survey highlighted there were not enough affordable homes to enable local people to stay in the village. The site now includes three houses for shared ownership and eight houses and one bungalow for social rent.

Tanya has moved into one of the two-bedroom houses with her 11-month old daughter Skye:

"I was born and bred in Sapcote, but have been renting a house in Earl Shilton. I'm at college and have wanted to move back to the village so my parents can help with childcare, but couldn't afford the rent on other properties.

Now I'm here my parents are only on the next street and I'm able to get the bus to college. If I was still stuck in Earl Shilton I probably couldn't have continued with college for much longer so I'm really pleased to be living here."

LRP Chairman Cllr Lesley Pendleton said:

"We want our villages to thrive and I hope that a dozen families and couples will enjoy living in these new homes in Sapcote. This is the first rural affordable housing scheme that the county council has helped to deliver through its New Homes Bonus funding."

Blaby District Council Leader Ernie White said:

"It is important that we support our villages and these twelve affordable homes are reserved for people who have a strong local connection to Sapcote. I'm pleased that by working with the county council, we have been able to support this much needed development."

Leicestershire County Council is using New Homes Bonus funding to support more schemes in the future.

“Free Trees” for Planting in Leicestershire
Wed, 24 Oct 2012 3:09pm
“Free Trees” for Planting in Leicestershire

Leicestershire County Council operate a 'Free Tree' Scheme for farmers and rural landowners as part of Leicestershire County Council's tree planting initiative. The scheme is aimed at replacing lost trees in rural areas of the county.

Since the early 1980s, the county has lost over 50% of its single landscape trees from rural areas. This is largely due to the ravages of Dutch Elm Disease and other disorders, such as Ash Decline, in the 1980s. More recently disorders such as Chestnut Bleeding Canker and Oak Decline are adding to this loss.

In addition to increasing its own planting programme on road verges, the County Council will be providing trees for farmers and landowners to plant in hedgerows, field boundaries, field corners and in parkland areas. Sites adjacent to, and visible from, main road corridors will be preferred but any site on rural land, which is visible to the public, will be considered.

The scheme does not cover private gardens or the National Forest area where a range of tree planting grants are available from the National Forest Company.

The initiative will be a partnership arrangement where the County Council supplies the trees and planting materials and the landowner does the planting and subsequent aftercare.

Councillor Byron Rhodes, who has responsibility for forestry, said: "The Free Tree scheme demonstrates our commitment to safeguarding and enhancing Leicestershire's landscapes. "We are keen to hear from anyone who would like to do their bit towards making the county leafier."

If you are interested in applying for Free Trees, please download the attached Free Tree booklet, print and complete the application form and return it to the address stated along with a plan/map of the site where you intend to plant the trees.

Free Tree Booklet (PDF 346 KB)

If you require any further information, please contact Leicestershire County Council Property Services Helpdesk on 0116 305 5000.

CLA launches rural crime manifesto
Mon, 22 Oct 2012 10:49am
CLA launches rural crime manifesto

The CLA (Country Land & Business Association) have unveiled a manifesto on rural crime designed to spell out the specific needs of the countryside when cutting crime in rural areas.

Launching the manifesto ahead of the Police and Crime Commissioners' (PCCs) elections on 15 November, the CLA identified metal and fuel theft, poaching and fly-tipping as crimes that have a huge impact on rural businesses and communities.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "The 41 elected PCCs must understand the difference between rural and urban crime to make sure policing needs are met in the countryside. "My business has been affected by crime three times in the past six months, so I know from personal experience that incidences of theft from farming and other rural businesses are increasing rapidly.

"Environmental crime such as fly-tipping blights the countryside and costs private landowners up to £150million a year to remove. Such illegal activities are extremely detrimental to the rural economy and must be addressed by PCCs." He added: "Firearms can be an essential tool for rural people, so PCCs have a duty to ensure sensible and pragmatic licensing is implemented."

The CLA President also urged Police and Crime Commissioners to visit rural advisory groups to learn how officers can support rural communities further.

The CLA Rural Crime Manifesto can be read here.

New path is a step in the right direction
Wed, 17 Oct 2012 12:19pm
New path is a step in the right direction

Residents are celebrating the completion of work on a new footpath connecting two villages.

People living in Anstey and Thurcaston previously had to walk along a grass verge to get between the two villages.

Now, thanks to a group of hard-working volunteers, a new connecting footpath has been created off Cropston Road.

The work has been funded thanks to a £9,311 grant from Leicestershire County Council's Big Society fund, with Anstey and Thurcaston parish councils contributing £1,000 as well.

Blake Pain, the county council's Big Society spokesman, said: "This is another outstanding example of the Big Society grant aiding local communities to take responsibility for a local issue, while also helping to demonstrate real community action."

Previously, residents had to go via Cropston to walk between the two villages. The new footpath, along Anstey Lane, now provides a direct pedestrian route.

For more information about the Big Society Grant Fund, call 0116 305 7269 or go to the BIG Society Grant website.

SHIRE Community Climate Change Grants
Tue, 16 Oct 2012 8:25am
SHIRE Community Climate Change Grants

SHIRE Community Climate Change Grants are for Parish Councils/Meetings and Town Councils, local community groups, faith groups, charities and village/community building management committees.

They are available for projects in Leicestershire (not Leicester City or Rutland) and can assist with a variety of schemes as long as they help to improve energy efficiency and reduce the potential impacts of climate change.

Applications for 2012/13 are now being accepted. Grant applications must fall into one of the three categories:

1. Energy Audit - 75% up to £1000 and 50% of the cost over £1000

2. Events/Training courses for communities - 50% of the cost up to a maximum of £2,500

3. Practical Installation Projects - Either 20% or 50%*

Individual application forms and accompanying guidelines have been developed for each of these grant categories. Please refer to http://website/climatechange_grants.htm for further information.

Displaying 231 to 240 of 304

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