BRAINTREE Council has launched a new grant scheme to support rural communities and businesses.

Grants between £10,000 and £50,000 are now available for projects in rural areas.

The cash could be used to improve community facilities, boost access to arts and culture, or support agricultural businesses.

The initiative is open to small businesses, parish councils and community groups in rural areas and communities.

The aim is to boost business growth and create employment opportunities, improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and communities.

The scheme has received almost £590,000 from the Government.

Braintree Council economic growth boss Frankie Ricci said: “This investment will give start-up businesses in rural areas the chance to establish themselves as well as provide existing businesses with the support they need to grow, mature and develop.

“This additional boost will strengthen rural communities as well as unlock growth and create jobs.”

The window for applications is now open.

Businesses and organisations can visit to find out more about the scheme and application process.