Bedford Borough Council launches funding support for rural communities

Aerial photo of a field

Bedford Borough Council has launched a rural grant programme that is open for applications from both businesses and community groups located in an eligible rural area to help improve productivity, connectivity and boost prosperity.  

The rural capital grant programme is open today for applications. The maximum request of £20,000. 

Funding for these schemes has been made available from Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) through UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF).

The grant will support activities that specifically address challenges rural areas face and can include support around the development of the visitor economy, active travel enhancements, and diversification of farm businesses outside of agriculture to encourage start-up, expansion or scale-up of these businesses where this involves converting farm buildings into other commercial or business uses.  

A Bedford Borough Council spokesperson said “We’re delighted to have been allocated Rural England Prosperity Funding to support productivity and prosperity across our rural communities. In total we have secured a fantastic £2.25m to support economic growth within Bedford Borough. 

“Our local grants, totalling £550,000 I hope can fund an endless list of capital improvements; please get in touch with the team to find out more about the application process. Any rural business or organisation with legal status can apply for a grant, including Parish Councils, voluntary organisations and registered charities. Grants must be for business and community purposes.” 

For more information about the UKSPF programme in Bedford Borough, visit

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

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund replaces the EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched the Rural England Prosperity Fund (Rural Fund), a top up to the UKSPF worth up to £110 million for 2023/24 and 2024/25. It is the domestic replacement for the European-funded LEADER Programme used to support the development of rural economies. For more information, visit REPF Prospectus on the Government website.