Rural England Prosperity Fund

Stafford Borough Council, UK Government, Levelling Up Logo

This fund is now closed to new applications

In September 2022, the government launched the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) prospectus as an addition to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

We were allocated £487,936 to spend between 2023 and 2025 on capital interventions in our rural areas as part of the REPF. 25% of the fund has to be spent in 2023/24 and 75% in 2023/25.

Details of capital interventions and required outputs and outcomes can be found at Rural England Prosperity Fund: prospectus - GOV.UK (

Our addendum sets out that we will allocate:

  • £121,984 to support Rural Communities - Funding available July 2023 to March 2024
  • £365,952 to support Rural Businesses - Funding available April 2024 to March 2025

Applications are now closed for both elements of this scheme.

Rural Locations

Projects must be in a rural area. For fund purposes, rural areas are:

  • towns, villages and hamlets with populations below 10,000 and the wider countryside
  • market or ‘hub towns’ with populations of up to 30,000 that serve their surrounding rural areas as centres of employment and in providing services

We are required to use the Defra magic map to determine rural areas.

How to check a postcode

Use Magic Map Application ( to check postcode eligibility for the fund.

  1. Under ‘Table of Contents’ select ‘Administrative Geographies’ then ‘Other Administrative Boundaries’ then select ‘Rural England Prosperity Fund’ (REPF).
  2. Search for a location by entering the postcode within the search bar (top left of page) and selecting it from the drop down or manually zoom in on a location.
  3. From the toolbar of icons above the map select the (i) ‘Identify’ icon and click on the exact location of your project. A pop-up box will appear showing the site check results as A RURAL AREA for the purposes of REPF or NOT A RURAL AREA for the purposes of REPF.

For assistance, please email


Private sector companies are eligible to apply, however are limited to the following:

Micro enterprises must satisfy two or more of the following requirements in a year:

  • Annual Turnover under €2m (you will need to check the latest exchange rate of euro to £)
  • Balance Sheet Total under €2m (you will need to check the latest exchange rate of euro to £)
  • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of not more than 10

Small and Medium sized enterprises must satisfy two or more of the following requirements in a year:

  • Annual Turnover under €50m (you will need to check the latest exchange rate of euro to £)
  • Balance Sheet Total Under €43m (you will need to check the latest exchange rate of euro to £)
  • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of less than 250

Applicants will need to confirm that they have not received over £315,000 from public funds during the current and previous two financial years, as this is one of the required conditions to allow applicants to apply for funding.

Amount of grant

Grants of a minimum of £5,000 up to £65,000 are available to eligible organisations.

A match fund of 20% will be required to be discussed with one of our Rural Business Advisors.

Example projects

Grants for the following will be considered for funding amongst others:

Local Businesses

  • Creation of event venues or farm tourism facilities such as accommodation, wedding venues and leisure facilities including pet and equine facilities
  • Purchase of equipment for food processing for non-farmed own businesses such as brewery equipment, modernising existing kitchen equipment, onsite vending machines
  • Capital grants for equipment to support showcasing of local food and drink products
  • Capital grants to equip development kitchens or modernise existing kitchen equipment for increased energy efficiency or increased productivity through automation
  • Capital grants to develop local tourist attractions such as information boards and visitor centres
  • Provision of premises for community owned shops
  • Electric vehicle charging points
  • Conversion of farm buildings to other business uses

Application Process

Organisations will be invited to complete an Expression of Interest form.

  • Applications will be reviewed in order of receipt
  • A business advisor will make contact to discuss the project further and how the grant will help with developing the objectives
  • Outputs and outcomes will be agreed to ensure that the project funded will deliver the required investment priorities. These can be found at Rural England Prosperity Fund: prospectus - GOV.UK (

Those that meet the criteria will be invited to submit a full application. Full applications must be submitted by 26 January 2024 and will be reviewed on a first come first served basis. Only those applications where all required documentation has been submitted will be assessed. Failure to provide all the information may mean your project not being reviewed.

Supporting evidence required at full application stage include:

  • Organisation details including any relevant registration or reference numbers i.e., companies house, social enterprise or charity registration
  • Contact details for two key people within the organisation
  • Bank account details including current bank statement
  • Two years certified accounts or management accounts
  • *Three quotes for each item to be funded to demonstrate best value for money for project costs £2,499-£24,999. Above £24,999 will require a tender.

*one item or the sum of many items from one supplier

Quotes should not be from people or businesses connected to your business, directors or shareholders.

Planning permission, consents and licences must be in place before funding can be released. Where permitted development applies a lawful development certificate will be required. More information on Lawful development certificates (

Project Overview to include:

  • A short project summary
  • Project objectives
  • Predicted impacts
  • A cost break down
  • Project timescales
  • Monitoring reports including risk assessment

Approval is not guaranteed, and the Investment Panel/Board will make one of three decisions:

  1. Application recommended for approval.
  2. Application deferred. In this case, you will be contacted for additional information before the decision can be finalised.
  3. Application declined. In this case, you will receive a correspondence outlining the reasons why your application was declined.

(The Council expects organisations to have relevant insurance cover in place for the operations they deliver, namely Public Liability Insurance, Professional Indemnity Insurance, Employee Liability Insurance)

Please note funding will not automatically be offered.

Only if the council thinks an expression of interest (EoI) project idea fits with the government intervention(s) and the district’s needs, shall the offer to complete a full project proposal be requested.

Full applications will be assessed by a panel made up of experienced Officers from Stafford Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.

Project ideas that deliver the greatest economic, environmental and social benefits will score highest.

Support will be available to anyone who needs help with the next stage of the process.

Projects must be completed by 31 December 2024, to claim and report on outputs and outcomes by March 2025.

Incomplete projects cannot be funded.

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