Grant scheme gives thousands to village shops

Six village shops have received a total of nearly £3000 in support through Wealden’s Rural Retailers Grant scheme.

The second round of this innovative scheme is helping village and farm shops increase their competitiveness by improving their retailing facilities and marketing.

Last year the first round of Wealden’s Rural Retailers Grant scheme provided £7,000 in grants to 15 village and farm shops across the District. The help provided through the second round of the scheme will enable nearly £10,000 of investment, securing economic and social benefits for the shops and the communities they serve. The retail outlets are in Groombridge, Fletching, Eridge, Upper Dicker, Wadhurst and Herstmonceux.

“All these businesses are small and independently owned, with some employing 10 or 12 local people,” said Councillor Roy Galley, Cabinet member for Planning and Development. “Many will increase the amount of locally grown produce sold, either through new marketing arrangements or improved storage facilities.”

“Rural retailer grants are limited to grants of £500 per application which is enough to stimulate the investment needed to nurture the businesses in the current economic climate. It represents good value for money to council tax payers who may also benefit from retail outlets closer to home.”

The two rounds of Wealden’s Rural Retailers Scheme have secured £66,740 of investment in local village and farm shops.