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Rural Tourism Grant Scheme

The deadline for applications was midnight Sunday 12 May 2024.

Aim of scheme

The Rural Tourism Grant is a capital grant scheme that has been funded by the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). Capital grants are available for businesses, for up to 75% of the total eligible project costs. The maximum grant that can be applied for is £24,999.

Funding is available for capital projects which:

  • Support the tourism sector, to help it remain an effective and successful contributor to the Herefordshire economy
  • Support new business growth in the Herefordshire tourism sector, and encourage and support the creation of new jobs
  • Develop local visitor trails and infrastructure to support this, such as information boards, visitor centres, etc.
  • Develop local tourist attractions and tourism accommodation provision, to improve Herefordshire tourism offer
Outputs and outcomes

Successful projects must be able to demonstrate and evidence at least one of the outputs listed below:

  • Increasing visitor numbers*
  • Jobs created FTE (post equipment purchase or building works) and on PAYE
  • Jobs safeguarded FTE **(post equipment purchase or building works)
  • New business creation
  • Increased turnover

All projects should be completed by 31 January 2025.

*Definition of visitor: A person who is visiting a place for pleasure and interest, especially when they are on holiday. An increase in visitor numbers would include: increased visitor admissions to a visitor attraction or evidence of increased footfall. This could be based on tickets / entry figures, where applicable.

** Safeguarded Jobs (FTE):  A safeguarded job is defined as any existing jobs that would be at risk of being lost within 6 months if the project did not proceed. The job that is ‘at risk’ will therefore be saved as a result of this project and must be maintained for at least one year post project completion.

Who can apply

Businesses that are located in the eligible rural areas can apply.

The map below indicates the urban areas (in red) which are not covered by the grant scheme. These are Hereford City and Colwall. Any other parts of Herefordshire, including the market towns, are eligible. When you submit the EOI the Grants Team will check the project/business location is in the eligible area for this grant.

  • New businesses, which have been operating for less than 12 months old must be formally constituted and registered with Companies House or have an HMRC/UTR number*
  • If you have not commenced trading, before any grant contract is signed you will be required to be formally constituted/registered with Companies House or have an HMRC/UTR number*
  • Sole traders, small and micro businesses must provide their HMRC/UTR number*
  • The trading activity and the grant investment must take place within Herefordshire

*To meet our definition of a small or micro business, the business must employ 49 or fewer employees

Rural Tourism Grant Scheme map - exclusion areas

Who is not eligible to apply

The following are not eligible for this funding:

  • Businesses employing more than 49 employees
  • Public authorities including Town and Parish councils
  • Social Enterprises that are not involved in economic activities
  • Agricultural businesses seeking grant support for primary production products and food processing. Please see Defra’s website for support for agricultural projects 
  • Businesses where the majority of income comes from public sources which is defined as subsidy
  • Franchise businesses and national chains
  • Gambling and betting establishments
  • Eligible businesses where the registered address is in Herefordshire but which are not trading in Herefordshire
  • Property developers and landlords
  • Projects without planning permission or which will not receive a planning decision by full application deadline midnight Sunday 12 May 2024. Any concerns relating to planning that may affect your grant submission please speak to the Grants Team on 01432 260787 or 01432 260662 or email
  • Businesses successful in accessing the previous Rural Enterprise Fund or Visitor Experience Fund. Any such businesses should discuss their project with the Herefordshire Growth Hub Team ( before submitting their EOI.
What the grant or funding is for

Projects which help the development of local rural tourism, green tourism and rural leisure sector are eligible, for example:

  • Development and improvement of wedding venues,
  • Visitor attractions, for example, activity centres
  • Trails
  • Improvement of visitor accommodation (excluding maintenance works)
  • Development or improvement of camping sites
  • Projects which support the local Herefordshire Visitor Experience , for example, tourism boards
  • Improving disability access to tourism attractions or accommodation, in order to improve inclusive tourism

All projects – must be able to demonstrate value for money and additionality consider the project’s impact on our natural environment.

Eligible costs
  • Capital items, for example, purchase of equipment which must be specific to the project
  • Building works, for example, alterations to existing commercial buildings (not including maintenance) and groundworks to create a trail.
    Note: we will require confirmation of the necessary approvals such as planning permission, landlord’s consent and building regulations (if applicable for your project)
  • Individual items must cost a minimum of £500
What the grant or funding cannot be used for

This list is not exhaustive. Please discuss any costs you are unsure about with the Grants Team.

  • Costs specific to tourism: such as refurbishment necessary to purely retain the current star rating of tourist accommodation, brown signs, or hire costs
  • General costs: maintenance works, marketing costs, housing, relocation costs, the cost of obtaining permissions or consents, contingency funds, costs incurred after the grant approval date, or items for which you have already received grant support
  • Professional fees and service for example architect, quantity surveyor, solicitor fees, legal and insurance
  • Revenue costs and business operational costs: including salaries, in-kind contributions, recurring licence fees such as subscriptions or service charges (including software licences), mobile phones and marketing websites
  • Purchase of land or buildings
  • Works to domestic or residential properties (unless a planning approval for tourism purposes)
  • Holiday accommodation which does not have a planning / business change of use
  • Speculative building projects
  • Building works to properties not used and occupied by the business making the grant application
  • Corporate responsibility items – Health and Safety, Disability Discrimination Act
  • Like for like replacements of obsolete equipment with little or no added value
  • Furniture
  • Computers
  • Vehicles
  • Items purchased through hire purchase agreements
  • Second-hand items, if not covered by a six month warranty and not been previously bought with a grant
  • Applications solely for renewables installation should apply to the Marches Energy Grant. Marches Energy Grant - Marches Growth Hub. If this cost is part of a project the application should explain how the renewables or energy efficiency elements contribute to the overall grant project.
  • Investment in normal agricultural operations / equipment
  • Purchase of livestock or plants
  • Non-economic activities
  • Funding for any project work which has already started, been committed to, or has been completed
  • Any business activity that is illegal or deemed unsuitable for public support by Herefordshire Council and DEFRA

Projects that duplicate existing publicly funded provision will not be supported.

How much you can apply for

Capital grants are available for businesses, for up to 75% of the total eligible project costs. 25% match funding from a private source, such as the businesses own resources, is required.

For example: 

  • Minimum grant £10,000– total project costs must be at least £13,333
  • Maximum grant £24,999 – total project costs must be at least £33,332

In exceptional cases, we will consider higher funding amount only if there is a compelling rationale.

The grant should be match funded by the applicant's business. This is the difference between the grant you are seeking and the remaining cost of your project (that is - 25% or more, depending on cost).

If the source of the match comes from other public funds please email the grant team to discuss eligibility.

All applications must be for capital projects only. Projects that seek to deliver routine maintenance will not be supported

In your application form you will be asked to demonstrate:

  • You are delivering clear added value
  • You have robust systems and processes for capturing and reporting expenditure and performance information (outputs)
  • Robust business planning which demonstrates the viability and deliverability of the project
How to apply

This grant scheme is now closed.

What happens next

If invited to submit a full application

At full application stage you will be required to submit (along with your full application form) supporting documents which will be detailed in the invitation email. This will depend on the type and scale of project seeking support. As an example, the supporting documents may include:

  • Completed and signed application form
  • All quotes and formal tender documentation to verify costs
  • Evidence of match-funding, for example, a recent business bank statement
  • If trading more than 12 months, provide a minimum of one year financial accounts/ management accounts (management accounts are also required if accounts are more than 6 months out of date). More information may be required when your application is appraised.
  • If trading for less than 12 months, you MUST provide a business plan and 12 months cashflow forecast and management account information

Applications submitted after the above deadline will not be accepted or may be appraised later subject to budget availability.

Grant decisions will be communicated to businesses no earlier than the end of June 2024.

If your application is successful:

  • You will need to accept the grant offer before placing an order for the items. You must not pay for any items with cash.
  • All projects must be practically and financially completed by 31 January  2025 (if not earlier).
  • Grants will only be paid on receipt of a grant claim form, invoices and evidence that the items have been paid in full and delivered to your business address in Herefordshire.
  • Grants are not paid in advance. Items cannot be ordered or purchased before you receive a grant offer letter. If an order has been placed prior to acceptance of the grant offer the grant offer will be withdrawn.
  • Stage payments may be considered for building works
Further information

If you would like to discuss your proposal before completing the form, please contact the Herefordshire Growth Hub by email to 

Further information about the Rural England Prosperity Fund: interventions, objectives, outputs and outcomes summary - GOV.UK

Read more about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

UK Subsidy Control Regime

This grant scheme will be administered under Minimal Financial Assistance rules. Applicants must ensure that they are compliant with the UK subsidy control regime. You are asked to confirm this within the full application form.

For updates on other funding opportunities please visit the Marches Growth Hub website or contact the Herefordshire  Growth Hub Team 01432 383343 or email: