RURAL businesses across the district are set to receive half a million pounds worth of grants from the UK Government to implement various projects.

Braintree Council has confirmed businesses and community groups in rural areas will receive a cash boost of £558,000 thanks to the government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund.

A total of 19 separate organisations will receive funding between £10,000 to £50,000 to help them deliver company projects in rural areas.

Small businesses and groups were invited to apply by Braintree Council at the end of 2023 and many of the bids have now been approved.

Braintree and Witham Times: Authority - the Braintree District Council offices, Causeway HouseAuthority - the Braintree District Council offices, Causeway House (Image: Newsquest)

These grants are to be used specifically to improve community facilities, grow local tourism economies and help rural businesses expand products, amenities and services.

Many of the successful businesses will use the money to improve existing facilities, enhance services and accommodation as well as introduce energy-efficient measures.

Pod Crowther, owner of Tuffon Hall Vineyard and Wedding Venue in Sible Hedingham, will be using the funds to build a glamping pod to complement the venue’s existing on-site accommodation.

She said: “We are delighted to receive the funds to build an additional glamping cabin which will be situated in the middle of our vineyard.

Braintree and Witham Times: Venue - an image of Tuffon Hall Vineyard and Wedding VenueVenue - an image of Tuffon Hall Vineyard and Wedding Venue (Image: Braintree District Council)

“We find that people who come to stay often visit the local pub and shops so the whole community benefits.

“Without the grant, we simply would not be able to offer this additional accommodation.”

Meanwhile, Blackmore End Village Hall will be using its grant to replace an outdated sewage system dating back to the 1920s.

Trustee at Blackmore End Village Hall and Playing Field Daniel Miller said: “This project will go a long way towards improving our village hall and making it more sustainable.

Braintree and Witham Times: Funding approved - Blackmore End Village HallFunding approved - Blackmore End Village Hall (Image: Braintree District Council)

“We are very happy to have been awarded this grant, allowing us to improve this vital part of our village and reach out to more people."

The Rural England Prosperity Fund is part of the Levelling Up agenda and linked to the UK shared Prosperity Fund, which the district authority has already spent £377,000 since 2022 supporting businesses in the area.

It is hoped this new fund will encourage growth, employment opportunities in rural areas, and improve productivity.

Councillor Peter Schwier, lead member for rural issues at Braintree Council, said: “These grants will strengthen communities, grow existing businesses, boost local tourism as well as create employment opportunities for rural areas.”

The grants will be paid to recipients once projects are complete.