£3.5m of EU funding unveiled for tourism and food sector in the Marches

January 27, 2017

Funding streams worth £3.5m to boost the tourism and the food processing industries in the Marches have been announced.
The latest round of Growth Programme funding from Rural Development Programme England, administered by DEFRA, will see two pots of funding available.
There is £1m to develop visitor attractions, tourist information, and recreational and small scale infrastructure projects in rural areas, including holiday accommodation.
And £2.5m to grow and enhance the food and drink sector by supporting micro, small and medium-sized food producers and processors looking to expand and create jobs.
Tourism in the Marches, which takes in the Wye Valley and Shropshire Hills and heritage assets such as Ironbridge Gorge, a World Heritage Site, generates around £856 million into the economy every year and employs 33,000 people.
Agriculture and food production has already been identified as highly important to the local economy in the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) strategy.
Roger Phillips, Chairman of the Marches ESIF Committee, said: “Tourism and food manufacturing are both very important sectors in the Marches that are thriving. Growth in both these industries will help us build a sustainable economy.
“The region currently has a diverse offer to visitors and the new funding will enable us to develop an improved year round offer to them as well as enhance the range and quality of rural tourism products.
“Investment in the food and drink sector through infrastructure, equipment and machinery will create jobs and support supply chains that will in turn boost our economy.”
An information event on the funding will be held at Marches Growth Hub Shropshire in Shrewsbury on February 28 (book here) and at Marches Growth Hub Herefordshire at Skylon Park on March 3 (book here).
For more information on the funding, visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/rdpe-growth-programme.

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk | email: enquiries@marchesgrowthhub.co.uk.

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: www.marchescareershub.co.uk | email: info@marchescareershub.co.uk

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact: gary.spence@shropshire.gov.uk

For any finance queries please contact: michelle.hodgkiss@shropshire.gov.uk

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact: Camilla.Mulholland@evelyn.com

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