Hinckley and Bosworth Rural England Prosperity Fund

Guidance notes - Rural Prosperity Fund 2023-25

Scheme description

The Rural Prosperity Fund supports the aims of the government’s levelling up white paper. It funds capital projects for small businesses, organisations, and community infrastructure. The aim is to help to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and rural communities. 

Who can apply?

Any organisation with legal status can get funding to deliver a Rural Fund intervention. This may include:

  • Local authorities
  • Public sector organisations
  • Higher and further education institutions
  • Private sector companies
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Registered charities
  • Arms-length bodies of government
  • Self-employed businesses

The above list is not exhaustive, and if your business or organisation does not feature, please contact us to check your status and eligibility.

Eligibility criteria 

To meet the eligibility criteria, your business or organisation must be in good standing with Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council. For example, fully paid up on any money owed to the council such as business rates, and:

  • A small or micro enterprise employing between one and 249 staff
  • Based in the borough of Hinckley and Bosworth: that is, you must pay business rates and/or council tax to Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
  • Rural, as defined by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs Rural England Prosperity Fund eligibility MAGIC map (defra.gov.uk). (Please note parts of Hinckley and Burbage do not qualify as rural and will not be eligible for Hinckley and Bosworth Rural Prosperity Fund Grant. Further advice on using MAGIC map is included at the end of these guidance notes
  • Trading as a business or organisation whose company type is either: limited liability, limited liability partnership, partnership, sole trader, franchise, social enterprise, or charitable company limited by guarantee
  • A business or organisation that has not applied for other UK shared prosperity funding for your project

Note that this grant cannot be used to fund projects or investments that would be eligible for funding under the following DEFRA programmes: 

If you would like to discuss your eligibility, please contact the Economic Regeneration Team: Regeneration Team contact form

Funding available

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council has been awarded £400,000 capital-only funding 2023 to 2025, to support the following four key themes. The funding will be allocated as follows:

  • £100,000 – 2023/24 - now closed
  • £300,000 – 2024/25 - opens Friday 26 January 2024

Grants will focus on four key theme interventions, and Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council intends to allocate £100k to each (subject to demand):

  1. Support rural tourism sector businesses/organisations
    Capital grants to develop local tourism attractions, facilities, or infrastructure to enhance and promote the rural visitor economy and create opportunities to increase visitor numbers to our rural areas. For example:
    • Creating event venues or tourism facilities such as accommodation and leisure facilities
    • Purchase of equipment for non-farmer owned businesses/organisations such as brewing equipment or development kitchens
  2. Support wider rural small and micro enterprises:
    Capital funding grants to support micro and small enterprises in rural areas looking to deliver innovative projects. Funding will support projects that improve efficiencies, net zero infrastructure for rural businesses/organisations and diversification outside of agriculture to encourage start up. Businesses/organisations can invest in green technology that will improve their carbon footprint and to develop their own green technologies. Such projects should improve business/organisation resilience, development, and revenue.
    For example: Innovate and grow - support micro and small enterprises in rural areas looking to deliver innovative projects. Funding will support projects that change the way businesses/organisations do something, to improve efficiencies and to generate more income. Projects will need to demonstrate how they are helping to overcome a rural issue or barrier they face in order to grow
    • Purchase of capital investment to make small adaptions to business/organisation
    • Purchase of equipment to allow new operating processes, such as a move to digital services, optimisation of resources or enhanced waste management
    • E-cargo bikes Energy efficiency improvements
    • Changing to a low carbon heating system 
    • Installation of low and zero carbon generating technologies, such as solar PV, biomass or micro-wind 
    • Insulation, replacement windows, doors, for example, to improve energy efficiency of buildings 
    • Heating, for example, Biomass, ASHP/WSHP. But not fossil fuel alternatives
    • Solar panels (building regs and planning permission may apply)
    • Building fabric upgrades
    • Insulation
    • Energy efficient lighting 
    • Draught-proofing machinery upgrades
    • Energy efficient plant and machinery
    • Community energy schemes
    • EV charging points
  3. Support and enhance our heritage
    Capital grants for existing cultural, historic and heritage institutions and organisations to enhance, protect and improve local historic buildings, venues and cultural offer.
    For example:
    • Grant funding for resilience infrastructure and nature-based solutions that protect local businesses, organisations, and community areas from natural hazards such as flooding
    • Cultural programmes that celebrate and promote local heritage and increase the use of historical buildings
  4. Improve community facilities
    Capital grants to improve and sustain local buildings and infrastructure and support local civil society, historic and community groups.
    For example:
    • Community kitchen hubs which are supporting food and drink entrepreneurs to attain accreditation and community kitchens, shared workspaces and hubs that support local businesses and community organisations
    • Building infrastructure interventions to ensure the sustainability of the building and community organisation, historic society

Rural challenges

The challenges that face local SMEs and the tourism sector remain considerable. These sectors were impacted during the COVID pandemic and continue to be impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, with many businesses and organisations lacking the funds to invest to improve productivity. In 2021, for Hinckley and Bosworth, 657 businesses were dissolved or are in liquidation, the highest number for the last 10 years. A local business survey for 2021 highlighted that 50% of businesses stated income has decreased over the previous 12 months, highlighting that local businesses lack the available funds to invest in improvements to the business. 

The survey also highlighted only around a quarter of local businesses have implemented carbon reduction measures in the previous 12 months. This highlights an opportunity for local grant schemes to focus on measures to improve business carbon footprint, helping to improve business efficiency therefore reducing energy costs.

Application process

  • You can submit your application from Friday 26 January 2024
  • We will aim to acknowledge receipt of your application within five working days
  • We will aim to advise you if your application is not eligible within five working days
  • We will aim to advise you as to whether your application has been successful in May 2024
  • Spend cannot commence before 1 April 2024 and a grant agreement has been signed
  • Once the full allocation has been met, we will retain a 'stand by' list of applications that will be considered should any projects become unviable and as such releasing funding back into the scheme

Please note

We are currently offering capital-only funding through our Business Prosperity Grant scheme. Should we feel your project application is more suited to the Business Prosperity Grant scheme, you will be notified of this. It will not affect the level of funding you will be offered and you will not be asked to submit another application.

Eligible costs

The minimum request per application is £7,500, with a maximum request of £22,500 per application. Businesses and organisations may submit more than one application, however the total awarded to a single business or organisation will not exceed £22,500.

Businesses/organisations must directly contribute (or secure from another source), a minimum of 25% funding towards the total project costs. This means your request from us should not exceed 75% of the total project costs. 
The 25% financial contribution may be from any other funding source including grants (excluding those listed). This funding must be secured rather than awaiting confirmation of, to be considered eligible, and you must be able to demonstrate match funding upon completion.  
We can provide capital funding only. We are not able to fund revenue projects or provide revenue funding to support a capital project. Capital funds can be used to acquire, build, or upgrade physical assets, including: 

  • A one-time purchase of a fixed asset
  • Acquisition of land and or buildings
  • Building and construction costs
  • Plant, machinery and equipment

The following costs are considered ineligible and must not be included in applications: 

  • Paid for lobbying, entertaining, petitioning, or challenging decisions, which means using the Fund to lobby (via an external firm or in-house staff) in order to undertake activities intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, government or political activity including the receipt of UKSPF funding; or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action
  • Payments for activities of a party political or exclusively religious nature
  • VAT reclaimable from HMRC 
  • Gifts, or payments for gifts or donations
  • Statutory fines, criminal fines, or penalties
  • Payments for works or activities which the lead local authority, project deliverer, end beneficiary, or any member of their partnership has a statutory duty to undertake, or that are fully funded by other sources
  • Contingencies and contingent liabilities
  • Dividends
  • Bad debts, costs resulting from the deferral of payments to creditors, or winding up a company 
  • Expenses in respect of litigation, unfair dismissal or other compensation
  • Costs incurred by individuals in setting up and contributing towards private pension schemes
  • Stocks and supplies

Additional information:

  1. Grants can cover the approved project and are only available to fund items of capital expenditure. The grant awarded will not exceed the amount of capital work within an application
  2. Grants will only be paid in full on completion of the project (no part payments) and only to the applicant (no payment of invoices on behalf of the applicant). Applicants should make sure they have the resources in place to complete and pay for all phases of the scheme as HBBC will be unable to make payment until the final scheme has been inspected
  3. Where an applicant is VAT registered, VAT will not be paid
  4. Where a scheme costs less than originally estimated the amount of grant paid will be reduced accordingly
  5. Works must be completed and grants claimed by 28 February 2025

Assessment process

Applications will be assessed by a panel of relevant officers to determine how they meet REPF outcomes aims and if they are eligible for funding. An objective scoring scheme is used to assess and prioritise applications as follows:

  • Value for money
  • Evidence of need
  • Interventions outcomes clearly demonstrated
  • Match funding already secured
  • Job creation
  • Length of benefits
  • Risk of non-delivery

The information below provides an overview of how we will score and assess applications. Each part of the application will be scored zero to five based on the quality and content of the answers provided, and how well the applicant demonstrates the points below.

  • Theme: value for money
  • Component: 
    • Demonstrated value for money and length of benefits

    • Demonstration of match funding secured:    

  • Weight: 25%

  • Theme: strategic fit
  • Component:
    • Evidence of need 
    • Job Creation
    • Intervention outcomes clearly demonstrated    
  • Weight: 40%
  • Theme: deliverability
  • Component:
    • What arrangements are in place to deliver on time and in budget?
    • How will risk be managed and mitigated    
  • Weight: 35%

Interventions and outcomes

Within your grant application form, you will be required to demonstrate what outcomes your project will achieve. For example:

  1. Number of businesses/organisations supported
  2. Jobs safeguarded
  3. Energy benefits achieved
  4. Improved perception of facilities or amenities
  5. Enhanced access opportunities
  6. Helping People to stay healthy active and protected from harm
  7. Creating clean attractive places to live and work
  8. Encouraging growth, attracting business, improving skills and supporting regeneration

Funding arrangements

Successful applicants will enter into a grant agreement with the council. If we approve your project, you must:

  • Trade for three years from the end of the grant funding period
  • Deliver all outputs as detailed in your full application
  • Supply evidence of expenditure and defrayal
  • Grants will be paid in arrears. This means you will need to make the purchase before you receive the grant money. You will need to provide us with proof of purchase/payment to enable us to pay you the grant funding
  • Payments will be made to businesses/organisations upon completion and inspection of the final project, which will include confirmation of approvals from other bodies such as building control and planning, unless otherwise agreed
  • You must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to pay for the project costs upfront or in instalments

Applicants must ensure that any project/programme put forward is compliant with the UK Subsidy Control regime and will be asked to demonstrate this within the application form. Applicants will be asked to declare whether they or any businesses/organisations they are formally linked with have received funding from EU or other public sources when they apply. 

All projects must comply with UKSPF/REPF procurement procedures. This includes three quotes for the purchase of any goods or services between the value of £2,500 and £25,000. We will request quotes prior to issuing a funding agreement and a minimum of one quote should be submitted with your application. For more information, please visit UK Shared Prosperity Fund: procurement (8) (GOV.UK)

Funding will be awarded on the basis that applicants have all necessary permissions in place to undertake any planned activity and pass all necessary due-diligence checks. The council may ask for evidence before a grant agreement is issued, however this is the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Contact information

For further information, please contact the Regeneration team: Regeneration contact form

Last updated: 26/01/2024 10:11