General guidance notes prepared by
Dr Bruno Broughton, Fisheries Management Consultant
In the last decade there has been burgeoning interest in the creation of purpose-built, stillwater fisheries and the use of existing bodies of water for angling or fish-farming purposes. Most projects have been funded entirely by the land owner or tenant, the financial return being used to offset the initial capital investment.
However, there is a wide variety of possible grants and other forms of financial assistance that may be available for these (and other) projects. This briefing paper describes some of them and sets out advice on where to enquire about others.
Almost all forms of financial assistance come â€˜with strings attached', but these are not necessarily onerous or restrictive. The most important condition, which is almost universal, is that:
Most grants cannot be made retrospectively, once a project has begun or has been completed
Clearly, this means that a degree of financial planning and preparation is essential if financial support is to be accessed successfully. There is plenty of help available, but accessing it is not always easy.
Preparation and research are essential
Generally, it is a far better tactic to think about the general outline of a fishery scheme, then ask what grants may be available for what particular aspects of a scheme. You can them amend your project accordingly so that when you finalise the details, it meets the requirements of the grant-awarding body.
Be flexible and adapt your scheme to meet the grant requirements
Remember that some forms of financial assistance apply to specific initiatives only, but these could be incorporated into the overall scheme â€“ assistance with tree planting or disabled access, for example. Such grants can be cumulative, rather than exclusive, and you may be eligible for several different grants.
Don't ignore small or specific grant opportunities
Finally, it is worth discovering how the site for your project relates to Europe as a whole, to the UK, and to the particular region, county or area in which it is located. In each case, there may be special grants available.
Know how your project relates to the wider world
Most grants are awarded against the expectation of specific benefits (â€˜goals', â€˜outcomes'). Typically, you will need to prove or demonstrate (not just state) that some or all of the following benefits will be achieved through the grant-aided project:-
Â§ Job creation/retention
Â§ Environmental improvements/biodiversity
Â§ Financially viable/adds value
Â§ Incoming tourism
Â§ High quality, permanent/sustainable
Â§ Open to all/social inclusion
Â§ Improved access for users (especially non-ambulant people)
Â§ Recreational benefits to meet demonstrable demand/need
1. National Lottery Awards
Sport is one of the good causes that benefits from the National Lottery. Since 1994 the Sport England Lottery Fund has distributed Â£1.3 billion to some 3,500 projects across all 63 eligible sports. 36 angling projects have received support worth Â£2.1 million.
Under the revised application procedure, grants are divided between the Community Projects Fund (CPF) and the World Class Fund. The CPF itself is divided into:-
Â§ small projects to which grants of <Â£5k can be awarded (â€˜Awards For All')
Â§ capital projects in excess of Â£5k (no upper limit!)
Â§ so-called â€˜revenue' projects that specifically address social exclusion
Lottery awards can only be made to voluntary bodies; they do not apply to individuals or to commercial schemes. Further information is available on www.sportengland.org
General Helpline: 0845 7649649; â€˜Awards For All' Helpline: 0845 6002040
2. Rural Enterprise Scheme
The Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES) is part of the England Rural Development Programme (ERDP). Its coverage is wide-ranging, with the primary aim being to help farmers adapt to changing markets and develop new business opportunities. But RES also has a broader role in supporting the development of the rural economy, community, heritage and environment so other rural businesses, partnerships, companies and rural community groups are also eligible to receive funding.
A total of Â£152 million of EU and Government money has been allocated to RES from April 2001 to 2006. The scheme is available throughout England, except in designated Objective 1 areas such as Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, where separate funding schemes apply.
For more information on the Rural Enterprise Scheme, or any of the other schemes in the England Rural Development Programme, contact your local DEFRA Rural Development Service office or visit the DEFRA website at www.defra.gov.uk
DEFRA also funds rural businesses for one-day's assistance through the planning process, a service undertaken by members of the Institute of Chartered Surveyors. They look at local planning structure plans and produce reports to help clients put together planning applications. The intention is to support RES as planning approval is required before an RES application can be considered.
3. Local Authorities
Most local authorities provide grants for business, albeit with â€˜strings attached'. The grant aid may be of European or national origin (as with Objective 1 funding), or it may reflect regional or local priorities. The Business Link organisations are good sources of such information and act as general â€˜clearing houses' for inquiries.
In the West Midlands, Business Link Shropshire is responsible for co-ordinating the Farm Business Advisory Service (FBAS) across the region â€“ Shropshire, Staffordshire, Hereford & Worcester, Coventry & Warwick. For details, see www.shropshirebusinesssolutions.co.uk/ or contact Trevor Sheard on Tel: 01952 208200; Fax: 01952 208208.
Projects on farmland in Shropshire may be eligible for 100% grants to cover the costs of consultancy advice if the farm agrees to (free) functional & financial analysis & assessment under FBAS. The service offers three days free of charge to assess the business, identify the problems, to find solutions and to direct clients to organisations or individuals who can help.
A similar scheme operates in Staffordshire. Contact: Max King Tel: 07968 318252. In other parts of the UK, contact the county Business Link organisation for details.
An increasing part of my consultancy business is to assist people with applications for grant aid and to undertake grant-aided consultancy assignments â€“ please ask for details.
These general notes must be used for guidance only. They were prepared by:
Dr Bruno Broughton B.Sc. (Hons.), Ph.D., F.I.F.M.
Fisheries Management Consultant
Trenchard, Lower Bromstead Road, Moreton, Newport, Shropshire TF1O 9DQ.
Tel: 01952 691515; Fax: 01952 691316.
[Latest update: 3rd May 2003]