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The Prince's Countryside Fund Opens for 2013

Organisations across the UK can start applying now for grants of up to £50,000 to support projects that have lasting positive effects on rural communities. This year the Prince's Countryside Fund wants to invest up to £500,000 in worthwhile rural initiatives. This will be in addition to the £2.1 million in grants it has already given to hard-pressed rural communities since it first opened nearly three years ago.

The Prince of Wales launched The Prince's Countryside Fund in July 2010 with the aim of safeguarding British farming and rural communities in the UK by supporting the people who care for the countryside.

The Prince's Countryside Fund Director, Victoria Harris said about the 2013 round:

"The countryside is one of our greatest national assets. Not only does it provide 60% of our food and 70% of our drinking water but is vital for tourism and recreation. The aim of our funding is to assist projects that tackle the big issues surrounding the countryside; the decline in rural communities, low farming incomes, jobs and training for young people.

"This time we are particularly interested in projects that will have long term benefits. We’re looking for innovative ideas of how to help rural communities. We don’t want to give hand outs but support organisations that work on the ground every day and know how to make a difference to rural life."

Voluntary and community sector organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can apply as long as they are seeking funding for projects that directly relate to:

    Improving service provision in rural areas.
    Supporting rural enterprise.
    Supporting farming businesses.
    Providing training opportunities for young people.

Applicants can be, but do not need to be, charities. They may be operating as Community Interest Companies, companies limited by guarantee, charities, not-for-profit organisations or social enterprises. Organisations should show that they have the support of the community which will benefit from the project and evidence of consulting the community.

The fund can pay for a portion or the entirety of the costs of a project, and applications for capital, project and resource funding will be considered.

There have been some changes to this year's application process. The Trustees have revised the criteria for application, and organisations should read the new documents before applying.

The key changes are that the Trust will not accept applications:

    Where the objective of the project is to ‘reconnect people with the countryside’. The Trust is reviewing how it can best achieve this objective through its funding and is exploring working with a strategic partner.
    From individuals or private enterprises. There are two exceptions: Community Interest Companies and Companies Limited by Guarantee.
    For capital funding for the purchase of buildings or land.

In addition, the Trust has introduced an online application form which can be accessed on its website (opens new page).

The deadline for applications is 17 May 2013 (5pm). All applicants will be notified of a decision by 26 June 2013, and successful applicants will receive funding from 1 August.

Further details can be found on The Prince's Countryside Fund website (opens new page).

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