There is a message coming across from within Government regarding rural grant schemes – either use it or lose it. Brexit will bring about a great excuse to reduce available grants to farmers and rural businesses if the current round of grants has not been fully allocated. Some may say that the hoops to jump through are just too great, and sometimes that is the case. We are often advising clients not to apply for grant funding on items were this will not provide increased benefit to the business as a whole, however grant funding can be simple if you are aware of a few issues that normally crop up when building an application.
Issues with building an application
• Difficulty getting quotes
o Send template to ensure all information is present on quotes. Quotes are one of the most difficult things to obtain with all the correct information on them, the most commonly missed information is expiry dates, and VAT numbers. Sending a template to quoting companies can be extremely helpful and reduce the amount of times that quotes have to be sent back for additional information. A template shows everyone exactly the information that is needed for the quote to be complete for a grant purpose.
• Lack of understanding on specialised agricultural areas.
o Make sure the application give clarity and explains in depth the project. A problem faced predominately with LEADER grants is that the applications are presented in front of professionals who do not always understand the agricultural industry, especially when it comes to complex machinery or processes. Ensuring that the application is clear and explains in detail the project, why it is important, and the outcomes can help people to understand, also the attachment of images and plans can be very clear and give the LAG groups a visual representation of the project.
• Deadline approaching and not all info is present
o Give yourself deadlines of at least 7 working days before the application deadline. It is always worth ensuring you have sufficient time to gather all the supporting information and allow for chasing up missing quotes or already exported quotations. A mad rush to the deadline will result in a rushed application, allow time to build and application and not rush the process.
• Grant timescales
o The grant application process takes time and therefore it is best suited to projects that you plan to start no sooner than 6 months time or ideally 7-8 months to ensure grant funding is not the area holding up your project. This is especially true with securing finance, don’t wait until you have grant approved before officially applying for that loan.
For more information on available grant funding, help with managing or planning your project, please contact your local FCG office or Chloe at firstname.lastname@example.org