Young people setting up new businesses in the Blackdown Hills are being urged to act quickly if they want to get European funding. The Blackdown Hills Local Products Strategy (LPS) can provide grants of up to £8,000 for projects that will improve the area's long-term sustainability in economic, social or environmental ways.
The Leader+ European funding is open to anyone but is particularly targeted at people who are starting up businesses, especially those aged 16 to 30.
The five sectors identified for support are woodland and forestry, arts and crafts, food and drink, tourism and recreation, and business development as a whole.
LPS programme manager Catherine Leach said: "This provides a great opportunity to help small projects get off the ground, but funds are not available for that much longer."
People interested in applying for funding must meet as many of the overall objectives of the LPS programme as possible, which are to:
* Add value to local products and services
* Extend and strengthen local business development
* Actively promote the identity of the area
* Promote sustainability with a particular focus on renewable energy
* Increase social inclusion
* Promote environmental best practice and recognise the value of the AONB designation
The six-year funding programme, administered by the Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership in Hemyock, is now entering its final phase.
It can provide up to 30 per cent of project costs for businesses and up to 66 per cent of costs for community groups and not-for-profit organisations.
Projects must be completed by the end of June 2008.
For more information call Catherine Leach on 01823 680626 or visit www.blackdown-hills.net