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Warwickshire Rural Hub


Innovative new start-ups can benefit from £40m fund

Innovative businesses and start-ups are set to benefit from a £40 million government investment to drive forward new technological advances.   The competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups – helping to build the businesses of tomorrow and propel their future prosperity.  Among the successful projects to receive the funding to date, is a virtual-reality surgical training simulator and an online farmers’ market platform.  Read more here.

£500 million Future Fund for high-growth businesses

UK-based companies can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors as diverse as technology, life sciences and the creative industries.   Private investors – potentially including venture capital funds, angel investors and those backed by regional funds – will at least match the government investment in these companies.  These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that typically rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit.  Further information is available on this page.

Coronavirus sick pay rebate scheme opens 26 May

The scheme will enable employers with fewer than 250 employees to claim coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to current or former employees.   The online service will be available from 26 May 2020.  You can use the scheme if:

  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they:

  • have coronavirus
  • are self-isolating and unable to work from home
  • are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

For more information & to apply CLICK HERE

Check if you can claim the self employed income support grant

If you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and your trading has been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) the government has announced a grant scheme to support your income. The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended.  Visit this page to check who can claim for the grant.

New funding to support dairy farmers during coronavirus

The new funding will help support dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand for their products due to the closure of bars, restaurants and cafes during the coronavirus outbreak.   Dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May will be eligible to access this funding for those qualifying months, and are entitled to up to £10,000 each to cover 70% of their lost income.  No cap has been set on the number of farmers who can receive this support or on the total funding available.  More details about how to apply for the fund will be released in due course.

Free one-to one-sessions for Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier

Are you considering applying for Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier this year?

Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier is different from Environmental Stewardship, as some elements are competitively scored. Alternatively you can enter a “Wildlife Offer” which is simpler to apply for and non-competitive.  Applications for Mid Tier are now open and close on 31 July 2020. Successful applications will start on 1 January 2021.

If you are thinking of applying to the scheme you may be interested in a free one-to-one session which will:

  • Review the recent changes to the scheme,
  • Help you select the most appropriate options to apply for
  • Advise you how to complete and submit your application.

Your session will last up to 1hr 30mins with an experienced adviser. Many of the sessions in Warwickshire will be hosted by Zoe Bell.  Due to Covid-19 these sessions will be run remotely. To get the most out of a session it is advisable to have access to a computer with internet capabilities. You should also have an idea of what you want to achieve with your application prior to your session.

Booking is essential as places are limited so please visit this link to book your session online. Alternatively telephone Chris Seabridge & Associates Ltd. on 07593 449868 or email     Please provide your name, address, contact telephone number, email address, farm SBI and CPH numbers when booking. You will then be contacted to arrange a convenient time for the session.

You can request and download your Mid-Tier application pack from your online RPA account. You have until midnight on 30 June 2020 to request your pack online. Alternatively you can request an application from the RPA via phone 03000 200301, or email The last date to request via this method is 31 May 2020.

Chris Seabridge & Associates Ltd. is delivering this service on behalf of Natural England.

CS and ES claimants to be offered bridging payments for 2019

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has confirmed that farmers and land managers will be offered bridging payments for unpaid claims on their stewardship agreements.  The interest-free loans will cover Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship 2019 payments to ensure farmers and land managers are paid for the important work they do to protect the environment.  Eligible claimants will receive a payment in May for 75% of the current estimated value of their claims to help with farm business cash flow while the remaining processing is completed on their claims.


New BPS Change Land Tenure Form

There is now a new Change Land Tenure Form available to change your holding type or land share, so you can transfer land online or make a BPS claim.  Visit this page for further information.



Payment claim date extended for BPS, CS and ES

The window to submit applications for the Basic Payment Scheme and make a claim for Countryside Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship and woodland legacy revenue payments has been extended.  In light of the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, farmers and land managers will now have until 15 June to submit their applications without penalty.  Farmers and land managers are still encouraged to submit claims and applications as soon as they are able to, so that the RPA can process them as swiftly as possible.

In addition, the period for amending your claim without penalty has also been extended to 30 June 2020 with final submission of applications and claims now to be with the RPA by 10 July 2020.

The deadline for new CS Higher Tier and Mid Tier agreements  remains the same, as 1 May and 31 July 2020 respectively. Applications are still being accepted.

5,000 small businesses in Warwickshire receive £63million of funding during coronavirus outbreak

Almost £63 million in grants has been distributed amongst nearly 5,000 small businesses across Warwickshire to support them as they face up to the enormous challenges of the Covid-19 outbreak.  Warwickshire County Council has been working in tandem with the five districts and boroughs within the county to tackle the complex logistics of getting the much-needed support into the bank accounts of businesses.  Warwickshire County Council is working closely with CWLEP Growth Hub, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, the District and Borough councils and other partners to co-ordinate and provide support to local businesses.

The process remains very much ongoing. Business who think that they may be eligible for a grant should contact their relevant district or borough council:

North Warwickshire
Nuneaton and Bedworth
Warwick District
Stratford on Avon 

Information on eligibility can also be found on the Warwickshire County Council website here.

New bounce back loans for small businesses pays cash within a few days

Small businesses can now benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.  The new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, helps bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days:

  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
  • loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form

Further information is available on this page.  

Q and A page if applying for a RDPE Growth Programme grant

If you applied for RDPE Growth Programme funding you may have some questions about the continued delivery of the programme during the coronavirus outbreak, both around arrangements for delivering existing projects and for applications under the Round 3 call that closed in February.

A list of common questions and answers have been published on this page and will continue to be updated regularly.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme goes live on 20 April

The online claim service for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme goes live on 20 April.  You can make your claim on this page.  

  • the only way to make a claim is online – the service should be simple to use and any support you need available on GOV.UK; this will include help with calculating the amount you can claim
  • claims will be paid within 6 working days; you should not contact the Government unless it is absolutely necessary

To make a claim you will need the following information:

  • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for ‘HMRC services: sign in or register’
  • be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for ‘PAYE Online for employers’
  • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:
  1. Name
  2. National Insurance number
  3. Claim period and claim amount
  4. PAYE/employee number (optional)

You can now claim for all employees who were on your payroll on or before 19 March 2020.  Full information on which employees you can claim for is on this page.  

Rural Payments Agency Coronavirus page

The RPA has established a dedicated page which gives farmers, landowners and rural businesses information on updated working practices, claims and applications etc during the coronavirus outbreak.  Visit the page here.

£10m available in second auction of Woodland Carbon Guarantee

£10 million will be available in the second auction of the Woodland Carbon Guarantee for farmers and land managers to create new woodlands to help tackle the effects of climate change.  The scheme gives farmers the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units to the government at a guaranteed price which is protected against inflation.  Land managers across England are encouraged to sign up to the scheme by 5 June, ahead of the next auction which will take place online from 8 to 19 June.

This announcement follows the first auction which closed in February 2020 and saw 18 contracts offered to help stimulate the creation of 182ha of new woodland.

Visit this page to sign up to the scheme.

NFU Mutual announces £32 million support package for customers and communities

NFU Mutual has announced a £32 million support package for customers and communities affected by Coronavirus, including updates to pricing, cover and claims, and increased charitable funding allocated to local organisations via NFU Mutual agencies.  In addition, they will continue to reward loyalty in these challenging times through their Mutual Bonus discount, which will offer an estimated £250m in premium discounts to general insurance customers who renew between July 2020 and June 2021.

Visit this page for full details of the support package.

Countryside Productivity Small Grant deadline extended

The deadline date for the Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme has been extended to mid-night on 31 July 2020.   All items must be in place at the location stated in your application and operational, before you submit your claim. If you still intend to claim, please buy your items and submit your claim email to by 31 July 2020 but earlier if at all possible. You can use the claim template and supporting documents detailed in your Grant Funding Agreement.  Submit your Invoices, Bank Statements and Photos as per Annex 5 of the handbook.

If you have any concerns that you will be unable to meet the new deadline date of 31 July then please email or call 03000 200 301.

COVID-19: Support for the self-employed

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the scheme you must meet all the criteria below:

  • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
  • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so;
  • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
    • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

How do I access it?

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020. For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

HMRC are publishing guidance on the scheme, available here. This guidance will continue to be updated.

When can I access it?

HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020. This time is necessary to ensure that the scheme is both deliverable and fair. In the interim the self-employed will still able eligible for other government support including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans.

Further information on how to access these schemes can be found here.

COVID-19: Support for businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Full details of the support available and how to access the schemes are available on this page.

BPS claim system is now open

The BPS scheme application windows is now open. Farmers can apply for BPS between 12 March and midnight on 15 May (without penalty), or by midnight on 9 June (late application penalties apply). More information is available on

Barclays unveil £50m adverse weather fund

In a bid to alleviate financial woes following the recent flooding, Barclays has announced a £50 million Adverse Weather Fund for affected businesses.  The bank’s package of support also includes increased or new overdraft facilities and other working capital solutions.  Ian Rand, Chief Executive of Business Banking, said: “We want to ensure that farmers are aware of the support that they can receive as we aim to help them with the devastating impact of the flooding”.

Lloyds Bank has also announced support for farmers impacted by flooding, offering temporary and fee-free increases to overdrafts to help with working capital.

Loan and grant funding for businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire

An innovative new scheme has been helping businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire find the investment they need to grow their business.
The Duplex Investment Fund, which is a combined grant and loan, is an initiative between the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT).  The fund is aimed at businesses which are unable to generate sufficient cash to progress with an otherwise viable investment project.  Loans between £30,000 to £100,000 are available and up to 40 per cent of the expenditure could be available as a grant, allowing businesses to manage their cash flow flexibly.  To qualify, businesses will need to have traded for two years, have a business plan and be able to demonstrate that they need the grant. Applicants who can prove that new jobs will be created will be given priority.

For further information or to apply for the Duplex Investment Fund, call Andrew Scarborough or Leah Blocksidge on 02476 551 777 or email or

Countryside Stewardship application window opens

The application window for the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme opened on 11 February.   All CS agreements confirmed by the end of 2020 will be funded for their full lifetime.  Farmers and land managers who are new to taking on environmental work or with expired or expiring Environmental Stewardship agreements can apply for:

• Mid Tier (closing date 31 July)
• Higher Tier (closing date 1 May)
• Wildlife Offers (closing date 31 July)
• Hedgerows and Boundaries (closing date 1 May)
• Woodland support

To apply and find out more visit GOV.UK.    The Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) partnership can support applications for Mid Tier capital grants to improve water and air quality in a high priority area.  If your holding is in a High Water Quality Priority Area, contact your local CSF Officer for advice by 31 May.

Bursary for students at RAC and Reading University studying agriculture

The Jordans and The Prince’s Countryside Fund Sustainable Agriculture Bursary aims to support undergraduate students to pursue their interest in sustainable agriculture and farming practices.  Students must fulfil the following criteria:​

  • Must be aged between 18 – 35
  • Have a conditional or unconditional offer for either an agricultural degree at the Royal Agricultural University or a degree at the University of Reading’s School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, starting in September 2020
  • Either the Royal Agricultural University or the University of Reading must be your first choice university
  • All applicants must live in the UK
  • Have a genuine and demonstrable interest in sustainable agriculture

Successful applicants will receive a £3,000 cash award in their first year and a further £1,000 in both their second and third year of study, to support their academic studies and help to further their interest in and knowledge of sustainable agricultural practice.  The closing dates is 29 May 2020.  Further information can be viewed on this page.

Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme

Do you want to save money on your energy bills and the make the most of low carbon opportunities?  The Green Business programme can help you identify energy savings and support the development of new low carbon products and technologies.   For further information visit this page.

Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Programme

Supporting the development of new innovative products and technologies for SMEs, the programme provides a range of assistance including one-to-one support, networking and access to grants of up to £100,000.  Visit this page for further information.

Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme

A free service comprising one-to-one or group support targeted at new businesses, or established businesses with under 250 employees who want to grow.   Visit this page for further information.

Gigabit Voucher Scheme for small and medium sized businesses

If you are a small or medium-sized business, you may be able to get a grant of up to £3,000 to upgrade your business broadband to a Gigabit capable connection.   Details of approved suppliers can be found at the link below.

Website: Open Website

HS2 Woodland Fund

The HS2 Woodland Fund provides grant payments for restoring plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) and/or creating new native woodland. Funding is available for a range of capital items, paying 100% of the associated standard cost, with a maintenance payment also available for woodland creation. £1 million of funding is due to open for applications in January 2018 and will close in April 2020, subject to remaining budget availability. There are no application windows.
Further information is available on the website below.

Website: Open Website

Change to Woodland Creation threshold

The threshold for applications to the Woodland Creation Planning Grant has been lowered to 10 hectares. At least one woodland block within an application must be of 10 ha or more in size, with additional blocks being at least 5 ha in size. This means that if your application is less than 15 ha in total, it must be formed of a single woodland block. Visit the website below for more information.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Updates to digital maps

The RPA is currently updating digital maps and will use this latest mapping data when calculating BPS 2017 payments. Claimants of Environmental / Countryside Stewardship and Forestry Legacy Schemes may need to review the changes to make sure their applications and/ or agreements are correct.

Natural England refreshes its livestock recording templates

Natural England has updated the templates for recording livestock to make them more user friendly. Therefore the webpage has been refreshed. Specific livestock record keeping applies to CS and ELS/HLS agreements that started on or after 1 January 2013.

Website: Open Website

CFE advises voluntary maintenance of expiring environmental schemes

The Campaign for the Farmed Environment is encouraging farmers who are in Environmental Stewardship schemes to voluntarily maintain conservation work when the scheme has expired. Voluntary management may assist such farmers to benefit from any future schemes, post Brexit, and returning such land to production will undo the investment of time and money already made, says CFE.

Fully funded training to invest in your workforce

Would you like the opportunity improve your staff productivity, increase staff morale and receive support from professionals who will help you grow your business?
Inspire 2 Independence is working in partnership with Serco on the delivery of Skills Support for the Workforce across Coventry & Warwickshire. The funding is available to local businesses within Coventry & Warwickshire with 100% funding of a range of units and qualifications aimed at up-skilling your workforce. No financial contribution is required from your business to access this training opportunity, all that is required is a commitment to the development of your staff.
For further information please contact your i2i representative today.

Telephone: 07850 204799

New form to raise BPS issues

The RPA has developed a new way to deal with cases of unreported BPS 2015 / 2016 payment issues, which includes an enquiry form for farmers to complete and send to the RPA.
For further information and to download a copy of the form please use the link below.

Website: Open Website

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Donate to the Hub?


A donation to the Hub of any amount is always gratefully received. However, it is only donations of over £100 that can be acknowledged on the Hub website as a Champion.  A donation can be given to the Hub by cheque, bank payment, standing order or by the Paypal Link Below.


Contact Us

The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
c/o Pleasance Farm, Kenilworth
Warwickshire, CV8 1PR

Tel: 07780 159291

Company Registration No: 7026157
Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA



Hub Chair

Henry Lucas






Jane Hampson

Tel: 07780 159291







Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Henry Lucas (Chair)
Graham Collier (Deputy Chair)
Karen Ellis
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson






Hub Steering Group Members

George Bostock, NFU
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds
Jon Slee, Abbey Farm
Andrew Cook, Farmer
Emlyn Evans, Squab Hall


The Warwickshire Rural Hub accepts no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from any action taken in reliance on the information contained on this website.

© 2018 Warwickshire Rural Hub. All rights reserved.