Grant funding for UK Food & Drink Manufacturers

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) provides funding for projects in England that create jobs and growth in the rural economy. The RDPE covers many of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas in the country. There are grants for business development, food processing and rural tourism infrastructure.

Food and drink manufacturers – who can apply?

Food and drink businesses of any size can apply, but priority is given to micro, small and medium-sized businesses. The business must process agricultural and horticultural products, which includes meat, milk, grain and root vegetables.

New businesses can also apply for a grant if there is an idea, business plan and potential private funding for the project.

How much money can you apply for?

In the North East, the minimum grant is £35,000 and the maximum is £250,000. The amount you can apply for depends on the size of your business and where it is located.

Project eligibility

The main aim of the RDPE Growth Programme is to create jobs and growth in the rural economy, so your project should support this. Eligible expenditure includes constructing or improving buildings, new equipment and machinery. The project should achieve at least two of the following:

  • Create new jobs
  • Increase turnover and profitability
  • Improve productivity
  • Provide direct benefits to local farmers and growers
  • Create new links between growers and processors
  • Sell more products locally, nationally and/or through exports

Preparing an application

Application is in two stages; first is an ‘expression of interest form’ (deadline 31st January 2018) and then a full application (deadline 31st March 2019).

The best applications will explain the project clearly, including what exactly they’re doing, why it’s good for their business and who will benefit from it.

Do you want to apply?

If you have any questions or would like to apply for a grant, please contact Steve Plaskitt on 0191 285 0321 or email