Before you fill in the application form you must ensure that you have read this guidance. Please refer to this page whilst completing your form.
The aim of the fund is to support rural communities to:
- modernise and improve their assets
- provide multiuse spaces
- improve health and wellbeing
- a reduction in rural loneliness
- have a positive impact on the local environment
- contribute towards net zero
- support the local rural economy
- promote community cohesion
You must answer all questions. This will help us to determine your eligibility and suitability against the fund criteria. Should you have any questions about the application process, please contact email@example.com
Incomplete or inaccurate applications
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that application information and supporting evidence is correct by following the application form guidelines. Incomplete or inaccurate applications will be rejected and there may not be an opportunity to reapply.
We are expecting high numbers of applications and we cannot seek clarifications or additional information from applicants after the application has been submitted.
Some projects may require planning permission. The team responsible for the Rural England Prosperity Fund allocations cannot advise on planning permissions and timeframes. Please see our Planning and Building Pages for more information regarding planning permission.
To support applicants with their application we will be hosting a free Introductory webinar on Wednesday 6 December 2023, 6pm to 7pm.
We will summarise the REPF, highlight key information, provide details of phase one’s successful projects and answer any questions you may have.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend our webinar and our team will send you the joining information. To help our team cover all your questions on this webinar please send over any questions you have in advance.
Completing the application form
Section 1: eligibility
The rural fund is only eligible for organisations meeting certain criteria which are listed below. Please select all that apply and illustrate how you meet these criteria in the box below, including your population size.
Projects are only eligible if they are in a rural area. For REPF purposes, rural areas are:
- towns, villages and hamlets with populations below 10,000 and the wider countryside
- market or ‘hub towns’ with populations of up to 30,000 that serve their surrounding rural areas as centres of employment and in providing services
To determine whether your project is in a rural area, and therefore eligible for the REPF, open the link to DEFRA’s Magic Map and follow the instructions below:
- visit DEFRA’s Magic Map: Magic Map Application (defra.gov.uk)
- under ‘Table of Contents’ expand ‘Administrative Geographies’ and select ‘Other Administrative Boundaries’
- select ‘Rural England Prosperity Fund’
- enter the postcode or manually zoom in on a location
- at the top of the application, you will find a toolbar of icons
- select the ‘identify’ icon and click on the location of your project on the map
- a pop-up box will appear notifying you if the area is considered rural or not for the purposes of REPF
Please only proceed with your application if the location of your project is considered rural.
Do you have a freehold or leasehold interest in the site/building for which your organisation/group is making an application?
Please indicate whether you have a freehold or leasehold interest in the site/building for which your organisation/group is making an application. You must provide evidence with your application. If you have a freehold interest, this is likely to be a deed. If you are undertaking works on a building that you are the leaseholder for, you must provide two of the following:
- a copy of your tenancy or leasehold agreement
- a letter or email from the freeholder to confirm that the works are allowable
You should submit these pieces of evidence with your full application.
If you have received funding from one of the following DEFRA schemes you will not be eligible for the rural fund:
- the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme
- the Farming Investment Fund
- the Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund
Please do not apply for the REPF if you have received one of these funds.
What is the objective of the project?
Funding is only available for projects that meet the REPF objectives in Maidstone. All projects must demonstrate how they have a positive impact on the local environment and contribute towards net zero. Please select all objectives that apply to your project:
- increase resilience in infrastructure
- pride in place
- strengthen community ties
- protection of local biodiversity
- reduction in carbon emissions
- increase energy efficiency and reduction utility bills
- protect businesses and community from natural hazards
- improved perception of facilities
- increasing use of facilities and creating a multiuse space
Section 2: applicant details
- project name - the name of the project
- name of your organisation or group - the name of the organisation/ group applying for the fund
- address and postcode of your organisation/group – please provide the address and postcode to which the organisation/group is registered
- site/building address if different - please provide the address and postcode of the location the project will take place (only complete if this is different from the organisation/groups registered address)
- first person’s contact details - please provide details for the primary contact of the project - this must be somebody from the listed organisation/group
- second person’s contact details - please provide a second contact in case you are unavailable - this must be somebody from the same organisation/group as the first person listed
About your group or organisation
Select and mark the type of organisation that requires the grant from the list provided. We can only offer grants to properly constituted charitable, social enterprise, community and voluntary organisations.
Non-constituted groups will be considered on a case by case basis. Please also supply any relevant registration or reference numbers (if applicable). If successful we may ask you to provide evidence such as a governing document which must be valid at the time of application or constitution.
Section 3: your proposal
Summarise your proposal. This should include what you want to achieve, what you aim to do and the estimated start/end dates.
Your answer will help us understand exactly what your project is. You may wish to include the following information as part of your summary:
- tell us about your group/organisation; what services you currently offer the community - how do you operate?
- describe your project to us - for example, what will you buy with the grant, and what will it enable you to do differently?
- why have you decided to do the project and are there any reasons your organisation/group has not completed the project before now?
- are there any additional services or opportunities the project will allow your organisation/ group to provide the local community?
‘Local community hall, in need of new roof and double glazing. Boiler in need of replacement to low carbon modern alternative, and solar panels for instillation on the hall roof. The community space is still in use and needs modernising to reduce energy consumption and utilities, while allowing the hall to be used throughout the coldest parts of the year for community groups, clubs and classes.’
The funding is only for capital spend. What resources do you have in place to ensure the project is delivered?
Please detail your financial resources and management system, what staff or capacity you have to organise and ensure the project is delivered, and that quotes are collected, and briefly outline how you will proceed should you be awarded the grant. Please include any known costs or quotes already gathered that may indicate the need for upgrading or restoring the community asset.
Identify the estimated impact of your proposal by marking the appropriate section(s) below and provide supporting evidence
Mark the appropriate boxes to demonstrate the impact of your project. Use the text box to explain to us what other impacts (if any) the project may have on either your organisation/ group, the environment or the community. We encourage you to also use this text box to expand on any of the boxes you have selected above. For example, you may wish to highlight the estimated cost savings, carbon reductions or number of local people supported by your project. Please include all supporting evidence.
What type(s) of work do you require to be funded?
Mark the appropriate boxes and provide further details of the works in the text box.
Have you engaged, worked with or had input from residents, those who currently use the facilities or business in the creation and development of the proposal?
Before you apply for a grant, we expect you to carry out some basic research to show that the project that you wish to provide is needed and/or will be supported by the residents that currently use the facilities. In this box, please tell us who you consulted and the outcome and provide any further evidence to demonstrate the need for your project.
Are you aware of similar projects, businesses or equipment already in the area?
If there is a similar project in the area, please give details. Please consider if there is enough demand for your project. You could consider working with the existing project.
Once completed who will have use and access to it?
We expect the grants that we offer to benefit people in the Maidstone area.
In this box, please specify whether the project will benefit residents or groups across the whole borough or those within specific geographical areas. This could be the ward(s) and locations(s) in which your project will take place.
Please also give details of any new groups, clubs or individuals who would benefit because of your grant. This means groups or individuals who are not already engaged with your project or activity.
How will you monitor and assess the impact of your proposal?
Briefly explain how you will monitor the change or increase in usage of your asset or area before and after the grant intervention. Include details of any performance targets, indicators and proposed methodologies. For example, there could be:
- extra capacity for clubs and groups to be involved
- more foot traffic
- an increase in biodiversity
- reduced vulnerability to local flooding
- reductions to utility bills.
What facilities does your community asset (site/building) currently offer?
Please detail the current use of the community asset, current users, events and usage, or wide environmental benefit of the asset. You should also include detail of activities, groups, meetings and events.
Section 4: funding
How much would you like to apply for?
Please state the total sum you are applying for and itemise the expected costs of each element of the project. Break down costs if there are multiple interventions and state what this was based on. For example:
"This application is for £30,000 to enhance a park and green area in the local community, based on quotes and estimates of similar undertakings.
- ground works - £10,000
- site clearance - £2,000
- purchase, delivery, and installation of outdoor play and recreation equipment - £9,000
- purchase, delivery, and planting of x3000 mixed native broad leaf tree species -£8,000
- administrative costs - £1,000"
If this funding will be in addition to existing funding, what funding is in place already?
If you have previously received any funding for this specific project, please give details of the amount(s) and the date(s) this was received. You must include the details of any successful funding applications in which you are yet to receive funds.
Have you completed any feasibility work, business cases or had any contractor assessments? Please summarise below and attach any relevant documentation.
Please outline any previous works, feasibility studies, quotations or assessments already conducted for your community asset (if available). We will require three quotes for all planned works. You must include at least one quote for any planned works with your initial application. We are happy to accept further quotes once you have submitted your application. Please let us know when you expect to receive these.
What are the estimated timescales for delivery? What is this estimate based upon?
You should tell us when you plan to start and complete your project. Remember that we are unable to fund anything that has been purchased prior to a Funding Agreement being issued and signed. You will need to provide evidence that the items you use the grant for have not been purchased prior to this at your final claim stage.
Please also indicate what your estimated timescales for delivery are based upon. You should upload a proposed project timeline at the end of your application.
Please add any further information relevant to your project proposal in the text box provided.
Section 5: documents
Upload your supporting documents. You must include:
- evidence of your freehold or lease interest
- quotes for any planned works
- a proposed project timeline
If you have a freehold interest, your evidence is likely to be a deed. If you are a leaseholder, you must provide two pieces of evidence with your application. This will be:
- a copy of your tenancy or leasehold agreement
- a letter or email of agreement from the freeholder
Phase 1 successful projects
Staplehurst Free Church (SFC)
SFC applied for funding to install solar panels to produce sustainable energy. The panels will reduce the cost of electricity in the long term. By spending less on energy bills, SFC will be able to expand and support more residents in the future.
The grant will be used to install:
- solar panels on the Church roof
- batteries to store unused solar electricity
Teston Parish Council
Teston Village Hall aim to reduce their main grid electricity usage by upgrading to a low carbon heat source. Funding will reduce their annual energy cost and provide a source of sustainable energy.
The grant will be used to install:
- solar panels on the Village Hall roof
- batteries to store unused electricity
- two air-to-air heat pumps
Four old windows and one old door will also be removed to reduce heat loss from the building.
Hollingbourne Parish Council
Cardwell Pavilion will be updated to allow villagers and community groups to use the facility safely. The project will see a reduction in utility bills and an improvement in energy efficiency. The carbon footprint of the building will also be reduced.
The grant will be used to install:
- a low carbon air-to-water heat pump
- a new kitchen
- modern toilet facilities
- a disabled toilet
Boxley Parish Council
The community hall will be updated to improve energy efficiency and reduce utility bills. The hall entrance will also be changed to create spaces for electric vehicle charging points. This will provide a 24-hour service to the community whilst also generating a small income.
The grant will be used to install:
- thermally efficient doors and windows
- two electric vehicle charging points
Applications open on Monday 27 November 2023 and will close on Monday 22 January 2024. All applications must be submitted through the form.
We aim to let applicants know if they are progressing to the next stage of the application process by the end of February. Please note this is subject to change depending on the volume of applications.
Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions about the fund and your application.