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What is the Rural England Prosperity Fund?

The Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) is an addendum to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It aims to support activities that specifically address the particular challenges rural areas face.

It succeeds EU funding from LEADER and the Growth Programme which were part of the Rural Development Programme for England. Nationally, a total of up to £110 million is available for financial years 2023 to 2024 and 2024 to 2025.

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has been allocated a total of £957,788, of which £350,000 has been allocated to support the growth of rural businesses.

Please note this guidance is for the delivery of the Rural Business Grants only. All other enquiries regarding REPF should be directed to

The grants are being delivered by HDC, with funding from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority awarded by the government's Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Funding of the £350,000 is available as follows in accordance with Defra guidance.

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Date Available Funding Grant Expenditure
2024-25 £350,000 Must be spent by 28 February 2025

Who is eligible to apply for a REPF capital grant?

Eligible businesses:

  • Are located in the central government-defined Huntingdonshire Rural England Prosperity Fund area. Before you start an application, please ensure you check your eligibility on the Defra Magic Map. View the guide on how to use the map.

  • Are a small or micro enterprise employing between 1 and 249 staff

  • 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

  • Must be able to spend the funds by 28 February 2025

  • Can fund 50% of the project cost with match-funding from elsewhere

  • Are trading and operating within Huntingdonshire and paying business rates or Council Tax.

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

We encourage you to discuss your project and eligibility with us, please email us

How much grant funding can I apply for?

HDC has made £350,000 available to micro and small businesses that meet the rural eligibility areas as defined in the Defra Magic Map. Please ensure you have checked your project postcode for eligibility before starting your application.

You can apply for capital grants of a project value of up to £150,000. We reserve the right to award greater or lower amounts based on your application, the project outcomes and the quality of evidence provided.

The minimum project value is £10,000 with a grant award of £5,000.

The maximum project value is £150,000 with a grant award of £75,000.

An illustrative table of project values and grant awards is set out below. Your project may be in between these figures and the 50% will be applied accordingly.

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Project Value Intervention Value Capital Grant Award
£10,000 50% £5,000
£20,000 50% £10,000
£30,000 50% £15,000
£40,000 50% £20,000
£50,000 50% £25,000
£75,000 50% £37,500
£100,000 50% £50,000
£125,000 50% £62,000
£150,000 50% £75,000

When will the funding close?

HDC will consider all application on a rolling basis until the fund is allocated.

How do I submit an application?

We strongly recommend that you read the Grant Application Guidance [PDF, 0.4MB] to ensure you have everything in place before submitting an application.

This Defra funding scheme requires you to enter into a Grant Funding Agreement (GFA) with HDC and therefore has additional requirements.

Please ensure you have all of the details of your project ready to enter, eg what it will deliver, what existing funding you have in place, how you will deliver it along with all of your paperwork and evidence to upload.

REPF Grant Application Form
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Project Value Grant Funding Spend By Process 
Capital grants for project values of up to £50,000  Applicants must able to invest the funds before 28th February 2025  Applicants must complete the REPF Grant Application Form with evidence documentation
Capital grants for project values of £50,001 to £150,000 are invited Applicants must be able to invest the funds before 28th February 2025

Applicants must complete the REPF Grant Application Form and include a business plan.

Applicants will also be invited to attend a Grant Panel Review meeting to present their proposed project.

What project costs are eligible with the REPF?

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

  • building and construction costs

  • plant, machinery and equipment

  • equipment or machinery for commercial use

  • commercial catering equipment

  • items that provide new or additional accommodation for tourism operators (please note these must be secured to the site so that the investment remains in situ).

What expenditure is excluded from the REPF?

Below is a list of costs that the REPF is not able to fund. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and the council may consider other costs ineligible on review of applications, if they do not meet the priorities of the grant.

  • Costs that have already been incurred by the business. Costs that are incurred before the date of the Grant Funding Agreement are not eligible. You must not purchase any items you wish the grant to fund, until you have agreed the Grant Funding Agreement that confirms the terms and conditions on which the grant is issued.

  • Replacement like for like items already owned by the business.

  • Repairs and maintenance of buildings or machinery.

  • Agricultural equipment and machinery.

  • Purchase of land and property.

  • Running costs of the business, including salaries, stock, utilities, office costs, rent, repairs, maintenance, subscriptions, training or licences.

  • Reclaimable VAT

  • Costs of getting any consents needed, for example, planning permission.

  • Purchase of consumables.

  • Landscaping works that include the purchase of hedging, trees, plants or other non-capital items.

  • Domestic items and equipment not intended for commercial use.

  • Standard IT or telephony equipment.

  • Payments towards deposits or hire purchase: the grant can only fund items to be purchased and thereby fully owned in full by the applicant.

Projects that will not be funded:

  • Projects that do not meet the priorities of the Rural England Prosperity Fund and HDC’s priorities as set out in the Grant Application Guidance document [PDF, 0.4MB].

  • Projects that cannot demonstrate a positive impact on the local economy.

  • Projects that have started, and do not need a grant to continue or complete.

How will my grant application be evaluated ?

All applications and expressions of interest will be reviewed using assessment criteria. There are checks that we must complete to ensure that grant funding is only being given to legitimate businesses/organisations and is for projects that meet the objectives of the rural business grant. Only applicants that meet the following criteria will be offered grant funding:

  • The project meets the priorities of the Rural England Prosperity Fund and can demonstrate this clearly.

  • The business meets the eligibility criteria (status, sector, age of business, size of business and location).

  • The expenditure items are eligible for a grant.

  • The project is achievable within the timescales of the grant.

  • The application is within the grant thresholds (project values up to £150,000) and can provide the required match funding.

  • All required supporting documents are submitted with the application, including 2 or 3 quotes (dependent on value) for each item (up to 5) to be purchased.

  • Completion of checks to ensure the legitimacy of the business, and suppliers of quotes.

  • The applicant has demonstrated value for money.

  • All necessary consents required for the project are in place or will be in place before project completion.

What is the assessment process and evaluation criteria?

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

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Theme Aspect Weight
Value for Money

Demonstrated value for money

Length of benefits for project

Demonstration of secured match funding

 Strategic Fit

Evidence of need

Job creation

Outcomes clearly demonstrated


Arrangements in place to deliver on time and in budget

Project team experience

How risk is managed and mitigated


Each part of the application will be scored zero to five based on the quality and content of the answers provided.

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Evaluation of Answer Marks
Excellent response - Compliant and shows a comprehensive understanding of the requirement and with significant additional benefits beyond the stated requirements. 5
Good response - Compliant and the answer/solution offers some limited benefits beyond the stated requirements. 4
Acceptable response - Compliant and all the basic requirements are met, but not exceeded. 3
Weak response - Partially compliant but with shortfalls. Not all requirements would be met. 2
Poor response - Partially compliant but with serious deficiencies. 1
Non-compliant response - No answer or not relevant information. 0

When will I receive payment of the grant?

Grant payments will be made if your application meets the evaluation criteria and is approved by the Grant Review Panel.

A Grant Funding Agreement (GFA) will be issued detailing the terms and conditions of the funding.

You can make a claim for all or part of the funding once all your purchases are complete. You will need to submit an official claim form to HDC with evidence that your approved items have been purchased, received, installed and are in working order.

What is a Grant Funding Agreement?

A Grant Funding Agreement (GFA) is the agreement that sets out the details of the project and the terms of the grant that the recipient business/organisation must adhere too. Successful applicants who are offered a grant will need to follow the terms of the GFA. This will include participating in publicity about the grant, and how it has supported your business or organisation. This will be explained in more detail if a grant is offered.

How can I find out what is happening with my application?

There is no need to make contact with us about your application. Applicants will be advised by email if their application has been successful or not as soon as a decision has been made. This will take up to 4 weeks.

I have not been awarded a grant – what can I do?

There is no automatic right to a REPF grant and not all applications will be successful. There are a number of reasons why the application may be unsuccessful. Applicants will receive email confirmation if their application is unsuccessful, which will briefly outline why they have not been awarded a grant.

The decision of the Council is final and there is no right of appeal.