Rural businesses thriving thanks to District Council support

Posted on: Monday, March 25, 2024

A number of rural businesses in Newark and Sherwood are seeing their companies flourish and make the next step in expanding their commercial offer thanks to grants made available by the District Council through Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF), integrated into the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

Over recent months, local small and micro businesses in rural areas of the district were invited to apply for funding towards projects that help strengthen the local rural economy, drive enterprise growth, create and safeguard jobs and encourage the local tourism offer.

The fund aims to support a variety of rural businesses across different sectors, with a particular focus on projects within the leisure and hospitality sector, food and drink manufacturers and farm diversification outside of agriculture. So far, across UKSPF and REPF, more than 200 businesses have received support in the form of grants, specialist business advice or training.

Councillor Matthew Spoors, Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Economic Development at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Our rural businesses are vital in supporting our local economy and it’s been great to hear some of the positive stories from local business owners who have been able to expand their commercial ventures thanks to our support.

“Whether it be buying new equipment or investing in green initiatives, it’s amazing to know that we’ve played a key part in helping them to grow their business.”

Projects the REPF have supported include de-carbonisation and sustainability initiatives, equestrian centre and glamping site development, the purchase of large equipment for food and drink manufacturers and support for wedding and event venues.  Several of these businesses have now completed their projects using funding awarded in 2023 and further businesses were recently awarded a grant through the last round of funding made available in 2024.

Jon-Paul Davies, Owner of Kelham House and Country Manor, has used the funds to invest in new solar panels and a Tesla Power wall, he said: “Building up our sustainable credentials has been on our mind for many years. The rural grant funding has been perfect for us, we have received fantastic support from the District Council in bringing about the project in a timely and efficient way.”

Oliver Christy, Co-Founder of DevOATED Food and Drink Company, has been able to purchase new equipment to increase their supply thanks to the funding, he said: “The Rural Prosperity Fund has been instrumental and essential for us to scale up our operation. The funding has enabled us to fit out and buy the equipment to grow our business much quicker than we would have otherwise been able to do.

“In terms of volume, the funding has enabled us to buy equipment such as a filling machine, that helps us to fill 2,500 bottles of our oat milkshake a day rather than 400 by hand under the old operation.”

Ian Taylor, Owner of Orchard Stables Livery, has been able to expand his workforce, he said: “The fund has made us more sustainable, and it’ll increase revenue for the business. It will also give us the opportunity to employee full-time someone to help with the livery business and hopefully for the glamping business as well.”

Local businesses can find out more about support available here:   This includes fully funded specialist business advice and guidance, access to grant finder searches and training.

The grant funding was made available through the district councils’ allocation of Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF), an additional capital funding stream integrated within UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit