Here we have listed all the funding and support we know about that is potentially available to farm businesses in the North West. Open the drop down links to see details.

(In February 2015 we produced a grants update to explain all the RDPE grant funding expected to start in 2015 which can be viewed HERE >>

Farm improvement grants...

Countryside Productivity Scheme
Defra logo 2012
This scheme closed for applications on 30th June 

Farmers, woodland owners and forestry contractors can apply for grants under the Countryside Productivity Scheme.

The Countryside Productivity Scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). It’s administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

A grant may cover up to 40% of the total eligible costs of the project. There are 2 types of grants: small grants and large grants.

Small grants: For small grants, funding of between £2,500 and £35,000 is available.

One small grant can be used to apply for a range of small grant items.

Large grants: For large grants, funding of between £35,000 and £1,000,000 is available.

Applicants can apply for a mix of large grant items in one application.

Applications can only be for large grant items or small grant items – not a mix of both.

Find out more and see what items are grant funded on the website >>

Water Capital Grant Scheme 2015
This scheme has now closed for applications. 

csf 2013 handbookThis grant scheme forms part of the new Countryside Stewardship scheme. It builds upon the capital grant scheme within the Catchment Sensitive Farming project.

Farmers and other land managers can apply for a grant to help pay for work to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture.

The maximum available grant for each farm business is £10,000. Applications will only be accepted from farms in a priority catchment target area.

*This grant usually opens for two months every year in February and March, dependant on announcement and funding

See what the grant will fund and if your farm is in a priority area >>

Other funding...

The Henry Plumb Foundation

The Henry Plumb FoundationStarted by Lord Henry Plumb, the Henry Plumb Foundation provides financial backing and support for those with ideas, enthusiasm and a wish to get ahead.

If you have a plan for the future – and it involves food or farming – then the Henry Plumb Foundation could help you.

It could be education, research, training, a social media project – an idea for a business. Whatever it is, If you're between 18 and 35 years old it’s time to find out more.

  • Business Start-Ups
  • Internships
  • Overseas Exchanges
  • Attendance at events and conferences
  • Management courses

As part of the programme, the Foundation will match candidates with an experienced industry mentor, who help them make the most of these exciting opportunities. Lord Plumb believes that those with drive and ambition deserve a ‘lucky break’ and that the future of the agricultural industry relies on attracting young people with skills and energy. Ultimately Henry wanted to leave a lasting legacy. The foundation launched in October 2012 and is well on its way to reaching its £2 million target.

All of the money raised is used to fund individual grants with the aim to sponsor around 24 people a year, to date we have already awarded more than 25 grants with some inspirational projects currently being reviewed.

Find out how they’ve helped to make ideas become a reality by reading about some of Henry’s Graduates.

More at:

Countryside Stewardship
Natural England

Countryside Stewardship is an agri-environment scheme managed by Natural England that provides funding to farmers and other land managers in England to deliver effective environmental management on your land. It replaces Environmental Stewardship and provides incentives for land managers to look after their environment.

The new Countryside Stewardship Scheme is now open for applications (1st July to 30th September 2015).

The new scheme is competitive and all applications will be scored based on what they deliver for the environment (including farm wildlife, pollinators, biodiversity and water quality) in their local area. 

More details on the website >>

North West Rivers Trusts

Catchment Sensitive Farming works in partnership with six Rivers Trusts in the North West who in some cases have their own separate funding for environmental land improvements that improve water quality and benefit farmers adjoining farm land.

Click on the links below to see what geographical area each trust covers.

Ribble Rivers TrustCumbria

Irwell Rivers TrustLancashire

Woodland Capital Grant Scheme 2015

Forestry commission

Foresters and other land managers can apply for woodland capital grants 2015 from 17th February 2015 until the 30th June 2015.

Capital grants are available for woodland creation, addressing tree health issues and creating management plans.

See the application guide on the website >>

Woodland Initiatives

All the North West woodland initiatives listed below provide support to woodland owners and managers in accessing grants, especially EWGS.

Red Rose Forest

Website:  Tel: 0161 872 1660

Lancashire Woodlands Project.

Website:  Tel: 01772 533917

Pennine Edge Forest

Website:  Tel: 01706 924234

Cumbria Woodlands

Website:  Tel: 01539 822140/822439

The Mersey Forest

Website:  Tel: 01925 816217.

Rural Community Energy Fund

WRAPThe Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community.

The fund will provide up to approximately £150,000 of funding for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help projects become investment ready. RCEF provides support in two stages:

• Stage 1 - Provides a grant of up to approximately £20,000 to pay for an initial investigation into the feasibility of a renewable energy project.

• Stage 2 - Provides an unsecured loan of up to approximately £130,000 to support planning applications and develop a robust business case to attract further investment. The fund is being delivered on behalf of the government by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Applications will be reviewed on a monthly basis and there is no set deadline for bids

For more information, visit

On Farm AD Fund

WRAPLaunched in October 2013, The On Farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund has been developed to help farmers in England get financial support to build small scale AD plants on their farms.

WRAP understand that the main barriers to developing anaerobic digestion (AD) on farms are:

  • Access to finance.
  • Availability of reference sites for technologies and case studies.
  • Demonstration of the benefits of AD.
  • The potential high cost of technology.

To address these barriers and encourage the uptake of small scale on farm AD in the UK WRAP has developed a programme to help farms access finance, provide case studies and demonstration information and provide support for farmers who want to use AD on their farm.

The fund will be available to farms in England, that have access to slurries or manures; and who wish to build AD plants producing up to 250k/W of power. 

The scheme is split into two parts:

  • Stage 1: A grant of up to £10,000 to investigate the environmental and economic potential of building an AD plant on the farm
  • Stage 2: The second part is a capital loan up to £400,000 (or a maximum of 50% of the project cost). This is available for AD plants producing up to 250kW of power.

Vist the WRAP website for further details >>

Other support...

FREE planning advice for Cumbria businesses

Cumbria Growth HubThe service, provided by Warton-based Rural Futures through funding from the Cumbria Business Growth Hub and Rural Growth Network, provides free one-to-one planning advice to applicants.

The usual form of the advice will be an initial site visit to discuss the proposal followed by a detailed report on planning issues and actions required to successfully deliver the proposal including advice on other funding and business support services that may be able to assist - up to 12 hours support

Further Details >>

Rural FuturesContact

Rural Futures.
Tel: 01524 736845

The Best Way Forward - FREE technical support for farmers

Princes Countryside trustFarmers faced with challenging areas within their businesses are being urged to apply for help through a project ran by Reaseheath College's Agricultural Development Academy.

Agricultural consultants are ready to help farmers in Cheshire and surrounding counties by offering them specific technical help, advice and planning. The aim is to help farm businesses become more profitable and sustainable over the long term and to encourage efficient farm practices.

Reaseheath will work in close partnership with the Cheshire Agricultural Chaplaincy to identify farmers in need. The consultants, who share an interest in assisting farm businesses, will assess specific problems and propose solutions.

The project is called "The Best Way Forward" and will run until February 2015. The areas covered are:

  • Financial advice
  • Succession planning
  • Farm management
  • Environmental issues
  • Animal husbandry

Reaseheath CollegeThe initiative has been made possible by a successful bid for funding from the Prince's Countryside Fund. It is being managed by Reaseheath College's Lesley Innes, who for the last four years was responsible for organising the Cheshire programme of RDPE Northwest Livestock Programme events.

She said: "We were delighted to receive the funding for this project. It will enable us to work with farmers who do not usually interact with knowledge transfer work. Critically, it will allow us to help farmers who are in urgent need of support and business improvement."


Farmers or their agents should contact Lesley Innes for further information

Tel: 01270 625131 Ext 7308
Farmer Networks and Farmer Groups

There is support for farmer groups to access specialist help and technical information through the farmer networks established in Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire. Run by farmers for farmers.

Cumbria Farmer Network / Yorkshire Dales Farmer Network

See what they do for their farmer members (visit their website) >>

See Cumbria Events to find out what they have planned this month

Lancs Farmer NetworkLancashire and Gt Manchester Farmer Network

The Lancashire and Gt Manchester Farmer Network is a new-farmer led network that has grown out of the successful farmer groups that were established through the Northwest Livestock Programme. 

Bringing Lancashire and Greater Manchester farmers together, the aim of the Network is to support farmers in developing their knowledge and skills to enable them to keep abreast of new developments in farming and improve performance of farming businesses.

See the Lancashire and Gt Man Farmer Network page on this website for full details >> 

See Lancashire Events to find out if anything is planned near you this month

or contact Michelle Fare at Myerscough College on 01995 642 206

ICT Network (Farm NorthWest Website)

Myerscough Col new port

This website was originally developed to keep North West livestock farmers up-to-date with the RDPE Northwest Livestock Programme. It has information about support available and how to sign up for Animal Health Plans, Nutrient Management Plans, Resource Efficiency audit and FFIS Grants. There are factsheets with technical information relevant to farmers, reports from demonstration events and farmer group meetings, information about monitor farms and a calendar of events.

You can keep up to date with all this and from August 2013 all RDPE activity relevant to all farm sectors in the North West through our monthly e-newsletter and / or quarterly printed newsletter posted to you.

To sign up for our e-newsletter Register with the site

Got a smart phone or a tablet? Download our FREE APP

Download our FREE APP and get push notificiations on grants, events and farm support info sent to you.

For ipad and iphone go to the Apple App Store >>

Android phones and tablets, go to the Google Play App Store >> 

For help with the website and all general enquiries:

Phone: Adrian Capstick on 01995 642 206

Campaign for the Farmed Environment

Campaign for the Farmed EnvironmentReaseheath College has been awarded a contract to provide services for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) in the North West of England.

The Campaign for the Farmed Environment aims to pull together the huge amount of work that farmers and land managers already do to encourage wildlife, to benefit soil and water resources and support farmland birds. It promotes existing stewardship schemes and encourages voluntary management that will benefit the environment, whilst ensuring efficient and profitable food production through a range of methods, including on-farm events.

Local activity in the North West is co-ordinated by the Reaseheath Agricultural Development Academy led by Dr George Fisher. There are three local co-ordinators for the areas of Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire. For details of who to contact please follow the links below:

Lead contact

George Fisher:
Phone - 01270 616473


Paul Arkle provides local co-ordination for Cumbria. To contact Paul:
Phone - 07713 333165


Michelle Fare provides local co-ordination for Lancashire. To contact Michelle:
Phone - 01995 642206


Nicola Hall provides local co-ordination for Cheshire. To contact Nicola:
Phone - 07772 732508