Two Rutland based companies receive nearly £100,000 support from LEADER
Two Rutland based companies receive nearly £100,000 support from LEADER

Pictured: Simon Thompson, Farm Director, Parker Farms

TWO Rutland-based businesses have received nearly £100,000 to help them grow, thanks to Rutland County Council and Opportunity Peterborough.

Parker Farms, which is based in Ridlington, has been awarded £49,570, while Oakham-based Simmons Optometrist has received £44,754. The money will help expand what they do and potentially employ more people.

Rutland County Council, together with economic development company Opportunity Peterborough, helped to secure £1.32 million of LEADER funding which is administered by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The programme is being delivered with support from a Local Action Group (LAG) made up of 14 local volunteers from a variety of sectors and professions. The LAG approve funding for projects with the aim of improving the overall prosperity of the area.

The money is designed to boost rural economies, from supporting tourism and small business growth to aiding the development of agriculture, farm diversification and forestry.In the case of Parker Farms it will help buy a Direct Drill to improve cultivation and the sustainability of soil. Simmons Optometrist, which is based in Burley Road, will use the money to fund an extension.

Simon Thompson, Farm Director for Parker Farms which employs three people in Rutland, said: “The funding is hugely significant for us because it will improve what we do in terms of soil management, allowing us to expand and potentially employ more people. This is good news for us and good news for Rutland because supporting local business benefits the whole local supply chain.”

Steve Bowyer, Chief Executive at Opportunity Peterborough, said: “We’re delighted to see this funding driving further growth, supporting emerging rural companies to develop their ideas. With less than a year to go until the fund closes it’s critical we hear from any business or community group in Rutland and rural Peterborough that is looking for funding towards ideas that will help their business to grow or diversify.”

Cllr Oliver Hemsley, Leader of Rutland County Council, said: “The rural economy is hugely important to Rutland and this funding is great news for small businesses – especially those that want to grow and become more competitive. Hopefully it will inspire other businesses in Rutland to follow suit and apply for funding.”