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Wychavon Rural Fund for communities

The most recent round of the Wychavon Rural Fund is now closed.

We are always interested to hear from new projects but the demand for the fund has been high and we are not currently looking at any new Expressions of Interest.  If you would like to submit an Expression of Interest the link is still open; if funding becomes available we will review your application and be in touch.

Do you or an organisation in your area have an exciting project to improve your community? Do you need funding for it?

If yes, then apply for help from the Wychavon Rural Fund.

We offering grants of up to £25,000 to support a range of projects that will make a difference to rural areas.

Parish councils, village hall trusts, community organisations, public sector organisations, museums, arts venues and other heritage organisations can bid for money.

What is the Wychavon Rural Fund?
Levelling up and UK government logos

The Wychavon Rural Fund is being delivered by Wychavon District Council. The aim of the fund is to support communities to tackle issues and barriers to growth, particularly those associated with being in a rural area.

The funding comes from the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) and the 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 UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Who can apply?

Any organisation with legal status can receive funding, including:

  • micro and small enterprises
  • voluntary organisations
  • registered charities
  • local authorities
  • public sector organisations
  • higher and further education institutions

Please note we cannot support projects that have received funding from other Defra schemes, including:

What types of projects can be funded?

We are looking to support new capital projects (spending on actual things such as buildings, new woodland, play areas e.t.c) that bring something new to a community.

They must represent good value for money. We cannot fund staff costs, general operating expenses or services you are legally required to provide.

Projects should meet one or more of the following priorities:

Supporting Rural Communities (total grant pot £670,000)

  1. Capacity building and infrastructure support for local civil society and community groups (for example community energy schemes, EV charging points).
  2. Creation of and improvements to local rural green spaces (for example community gardens, green spaces).
  3. Active travel enhancements in local areas (for example creation or upgrading of existing footpaths and cycle paths).
  4. Improvements to town centres & high streets (for example shop improvements, lighting).
  5. Community & neighbourhood infrastructure projects (for example community gardens, walking and cycling infrastructure).
  6. Enhancing existing cultural, historic & heritage institutions offer (for example interpretation boards, arts venues).

Please refer to our Outputs and Outcomes Guidance for more information on how your project may meet one of the Wychavon Rural Fund priorities.

Where should my project take place?

The project must be delivered in a rural area within the district of Wychavon (i.e. wards outside of Evesham, Pershore and Droitwich town centres). Please refer to the Wychavon Rural Map to check if your project is in a rural postcode.

How to use the map:

  • Click on the link to the Wychavon Rural Map, enter details of the project location in the search box and select the location from the drop down options.
  • Tick the box agreeing to the Terms and Conditions and press continue.
  • Look at the box on the bottom right entitled Wychavon Rural Fund. This will tell you if the identified area is eligible for funding.

Note, you can also use the Map button at the top of the screen to show a wider area by selecting the Wychavon Rural Fund layer and zooming out.

How much can I apply for?

Capital grants of between £2,500 and £25,000 are available.

Private sector organisations will be expected to match fund at least 50% of the project.

Public or voluntary sector organisations will be expected to match fund at least 30% of the project. 

What are the timescales?

The key dates for round three of the Wychavon Rural Fund are as follows:

  • Expression of Interest deadline – 5 Jan 2024 
  • Full application deadline – 15 February 2024 
  • Appraisal Panels will take place in March and April 2024.  

The key dates for round four of the Wychavon Rural Fund are as follows:

  • Expression of Interest deadline - 26 Feb 2024
  • Full application deadline - 12 April 2024
  • Appraisal panel will take place in June

Projects should take place between April 2024 and 31 Jan 2025. 

How can I apply?

Stage one - Expression of Interest

The first stage of the process is to make an Expression of Interest (EOI). The deadline for EOIs for round four of the Wychavon Rural Fund is 26 February 2024.

At this stage you will be asked for some basic information about your project:

  • Your organisation, including any linked businesses or organisations.
  • Your project including:
    • Delivery timescales (projects must be delivered by 31 January 2025).
    • Funding requirements.
    • What will be delivered.
    • Why the project is needed.
    • What outputs and outcomes will be achieved.

EOIs will be assessed by the Rural Fund Team and not all applications will necessarily be successful.

The assessment will cover a range of factors including that the project:

  • Is within an eligible area and meets all REPF eligibility criteria.
  • Can be delivered within the specified timeline.
  • Costs are realistic and are permitted under REPF.
  • Is likely to deliver REPF outputs and outcomes.

Once assessed you will either:

  • Be invited to submit a full application by a set deadline.
  • Receive feedback on why the project can’t be supported.

If an EOI needs more work, the Rural Fund Team will suggest areas for improvement and explain where applicants can get more help and support before the application can be resubmitted.

Please complete our Expression of Interest form.

Stage two – Full Application

At Full Application stage you will be asked to provide information on:

  • Your organisation including:
    • Most up to date accounts.
    • Public funding received in the last three years.
  • Permissions required for project delivery (including planning consent and landlord consent) – these must be in place at Full Application stage.
  • Detailed project costs including quotes for all work (please see below for procurement details), demonstrating value for money.
  • Match funding information – match must be secured at Full Application stage.
  • Detailed information on:
    • Barriers to operation that your business/organisation is facing.
    • How funding will be spent and why it is needed.
    • The market/community need for your project.
    • Environmental/sustainability impacts.
    • Quantify what outputs and outcomes your project will achieve.

The procurement process followed should fall within the following limits:

  • Items worth £0 - £3,000 (including VAT) - 1 quote is needed
  • Items worth £3,001 - £50,000 (including VAT) - 3 quotes are needed
  • Items worth £50,001 and above (including VAT) – submission of tenders.

Please note that should your application be successful funding will be paid upon submission of evidence that grant items have been purchased.  Please consider at this stage how you will manage your finances to accommodate this.

If you have submitted a successful Expression of Interest and have been invited to progress to the next stage, please complete our Full Application.

You should only complete a Full Application if you have been invited to do so by the Rural Fund team.

How Full Applications are assessed

Full Applications will undergo an initial review by the Rural Fund Team to ensure all necessary information has been included.  You may be contacted for more information at this stage.

Complete Full Applications will be considered by the Wychavon Rural Fund Appraisal Panel which consists of local representatives with expertise and working knowledge of rural business and communities. 

The Wychavon Rural Fund Appraisal Panel will assess and score Full Applications against a range of selection criteria including:

  • Strategic fit, including how the project fits with and delivers one or more of the priorities of the Rural Fund and how it will benefit the rural economy and/or community.
  • The need for the project has been clearly identified and how it will address the issues/challenges identified by the business/community.
  • Value for money and the need for public funding. The application will need to show that competitive quotes have been sought and costs represent value for money; that the level of grant sought will achieve a reasonable number of outputs and outcomes and what difference grant aid will make when compared to what would happen without grant aid. The financial viability of the business and the proposed project will also be assessed as part of this criterion.
  • Project sustainability and impacts – how the project contributes to net zero and impacts on the environment and natural assets; that the project does not disadvantage anybody in terms of ethnicity, disability, age and gender.
  • Deliverability – to ensure that the project can be successfully delivered on cost and on time.

Being invited to submit a full application is not a guarantee of grant funding.

The final decision

The Wychavon Rural Fund Appraisal Panel will make a recommendation to the Director of Economy and Environment and the Executive Board Member for Economic Growth and Tourism at Wychavon District Council who will decide if a Full Application is successful and if a grant offer can be made. The Rural Fund team will let applicants know whether or not they have been successful.

Unsuccessful applicants will receive a letter explaining the reasons why their application was unsuccessful. Applicants can ask for the decision on their application to be reviewed if they think that:

  • the decision was based on an error of fact;
  • the decision was wrong in law; or
  • the Wychavon Rural Fund Appraisal Panel made a procedural error.
Contact us

If you are not sure if your projects meets the qualifying criteria or need more information then please get in touch with our team, who will be happy to help.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you want to talk something through with us, please contact:

Georgina Muckle, UKSPF Support Officer on 01684 862270.

You can also contact our communities officers for help developing our ideas and guidance on what information we are looking for in your form.

Evesham and surrounding area

Ben Price

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 07977 946734. 

Pershore and surrounding area

Branwen Bingle

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 07977 947144. 

Droitwich and surrounding area (North Wychavon District)

Patrick Connelly

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 07977 947143.

Will there be future rounds of the Wychavon Rural Fund?

We are pleased to confirm a fourth round of the fund is now open for Expressions of Interest until 26 February 2024. Future rounds may be opened depending on the availability of funding.

Example projects

The projects below were not funded by the Wychavon Rural Fund but by other sources of funding from us. But they are good examples of projects that would have fitted into the Wychavon Rural Fund criteria to help inspire you when making your application.

A group of people around a zip line

Pebworth play area

The existing play area was timber framed and rotting. Some pieces of equipment had been removed on safety grounds. There was a danger the play area would fall into disrepair, with the loss of a vital facility for local families. 

The parish council applied for funding to Wychavon and were able to install modern play equipment which brought the facility back into use.

A group of people sat on a bench

Badsey Community Orchard

The parish of Badsey and Aldington was in desperate need of burial space as the local churchyard was full. With support from us and the hard work of the parish council and community, Pear Tree Fields was born.

It includes a new burial ground as well as a community orchard with some 2,400 trees and allotments. The project has created a tranquil resting place for the loved ones of residents as well as a pleasant open space to be enjoyed by all, which also supports biodiversity and wildlife.

Two men holding cups and a woman at the front

Stock and Bradley community space

Over many years Stock Green and Bradley Green has seen the loss of many community facilities including the local school, post office, pubs and village shop.

With our support, the community were able to convert the back part of St John the Baptist Church into a multi-purpose community space. The project included the creation of a new toilet and kitchen area.

This facility is now used by many community groups and supports the life of both villages, while complementing activities held at the nearby village hall.

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