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Welcome to the latest edition of the SVBS newsletter.

This week, we're focusing on projects that have received funding from UKSPF and the first round of our Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) grant scheme. The second round of REPF is currently open for applications until midday on Monday 1 July. Further details on funding categories, example projects and applying for the scheme can be found below.

We're also highlighting the Tourism South East Beautiful South Tourism Awards, free CPD sustainability training for small businesses and the next Thame Business Breakfast event, where we'll be talking about the REPF scheme and how to apply.

There are lots more opportunities, events and resources to get stuck into this week, but as always, if you'd like to suggest content for the SVBS newsletter, please get in touch with us.

- South and Vale's Economic Development team
Drawn from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF), more than £350,000 in South and £220,000 in Vale has been injected into projects that support businesses and community organisations.

Thomley, based near Thame, received REPF funding to create an Eco Woodland Outdoor Adventure and Learning Centre and an eco-friendly interactive water feature. An exciting site for people with disabilities and their families, the charity hosts activities to help visitors develop the skills they need to enhance their day-to-day lives.

Ultra-low and zero emission business Velocity Cycle Couriers has been awarded funding to carry out its OxFarm to Fork project, enabling short food supply chains between Vale of White Horse based farmers and Oxford University colleges.

UKSPF projects benefitting from funding so far include:
  • support for the local visitor economy, with funding awarded to Henley Town Council, Wallingford Town Council and Thame Town Council for tourism projects

  • redeveloping the councils' Visit Southern Oxfordshire website, that will work to support local businesses in the tourism sector
  • the council’s Ride Revolution scheme which collects, refurbishes and redistributes unused bicycles to the local community, providing accompanying equipment, rider competence and bike maintenance training
  • a community led arts project in Abingdon, run by community interest company MakeSpace. The project has delivered more than 60 workshops, ranging from upcycling and dance sessions to community exhibitions and mural painting.
We have other funding opportunities for South and Vale based organisations coming up. Keep an eye out for further details via our newsletter.
The second round of the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) is now open for applications from South and Vale based organisations.

REPF offers up to £75,000 of capital funding for projects that help to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and rural communities.

The application window closes at midday on Monday 1 July.

Funding categories are:
  1. Capital grants for small scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas
    Example projects include net zero infrastructure, diversification of farm businesses, creation and expansion of rural leisure and tourism businesses, purchase of equipment for food processing, and resilience infrastructure and nature based solutions.

  2. Capital grants for growing the local social economy and supporting innovation
    Example projects include the creation of multi-functional rural business hubs, business infrastructure (such as broadband or EV charging points), establishment of rural community businesses, and equipment to support the promotion of local food and drink products.

  3. Capital grants for investment in capacity building and infrastructure support for local civil society and community groups
    Example projects include net zero infrastructure for rural communities and to support rural tourism activity, community energy schemes, kitchens in community hubs (capable of supporting food and drink entrepreneurs to get accreditation for food production), resilience infrastructure and nature-based solutions.
Please read our Grants Policy, Standard Conditions and Capital Expenditure documents on our South and Vale websites for full information on the REPF grant scheme before applying.
Apply for the Beautiful South Tourism Awards

The Beautiful South Tourism Awards are now open for applications, and we're encouraging businesses in South and Vale to get involved.

The awards categories are as follows:
  • Accommodation
  • Food and drink
  • Wedding and business venues
  • Unsung heroes
  • Dog-friendly
  • New business
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability
  • Events
  • Experiences
  • Visitor information
  • Attractions
  • Future of Hospitality
  • International Tourism
The deadline for entries is Sunday 23 June. Apply via the Tourism South East website.
Free CPD sustainability training for small businesses

Small Business Britain and BT have teamed up to host a six-week ‘BT Sustainability for Small Business Programme’.

Starting on 9 September, the programme will offer vital training on new and exciting topics, whilst helping you understand the incredible growth opportunities that being a sustainable small business can bring.

The training will be delivered entirely online and all small businesses who complete the course will receive a CPD certified qualification, which you can use to shout about your sustainability commitments to customers and clients.

Topics include:

  • Making an action plan
  • Technology to boost your sustainability goals (including using AI)
  • Dealing with overwhelm in the sustainability space
  • Sustainable branding and building your social media content
  • Sustainable business operations and the Circular Economy
  • Green grants and pitching for finance
Register for the programme via the official webpage.
Thame Business Breakfast event

We've recently opened a second round of the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) and are inviting organisations based in South and Vale to apply for grant funding.

To help you get started, we've teamed up with Thame Town Council to host a free, in-person event on the scheme, with details on how to apply, the types of projects that can be awarded funding and the amount you can apply for.

Date, time and location

Tuesday 4 June
9.30am – 11 am
Thame Town Hall

REPF offers up to £75,000 of capital funding for projects that help to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and rural communities. Full details can be found on our South and Vale websites.

Come along, meet the team and ask any questions you have about the scheme. Breakfast will be served from 9:30am - 10am, before the talk takes place.

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