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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Support and Funding

Higher Level Stewardship agreements to be extended by 5 years

Since 2019 Defra have been offering annual extensions to Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreements in cases where agreements continue to deliver environmental outcomes. Feedback from farmers confirmed that although annual extensions were welcome, longer extensions would offer greater flexibility and certainty. Therefore, from 2023 onwards, Defra will offer existing agreement holders extensions of 5 years. In exceptional circumstances, agreements could be for fewer than 5 years.  This change also removes the burden of having to apply for an extension each year.  Read more on this page.

Duplex Investment Fund offers loans and grants for capital projects by local businesses

Duplex Investment Fund is a new way to help finance capital investments by local businesses, delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust. It combines public sector grants and loans to give you financial flexibility and ensure that your project proceeds successfully.  The value of the grant can be almost as much as the total interest payable on the loan.  How does it work? You receive a loan to cover the full cost of your capital investment project on day one. Once you have obtained and paid for your capital item(s) you receive a grant which is up to 40% of the total cost.  To be eligible to apply you must be trading in Coventry or Warwickshire, demonstrate 2 years profitable trading, produce a sound business plan and create jobs as a result of the investment.  Loans are between £30k – £100k.   Read more here.

Watch a webinar on applying to the English Woodland Creation Offer

If you are thinking about applying for the England Woodland Creation Offer, this webinar will help you with the practicalities of applying and increase the chances of you getting it right first time.  Topics covered include:

  • things to consider before applying
  • brief overview of England’s Woodland Creation Offer
  • application process
  • common mistakes & omissions, and how to avoid them
  • example of a successful application

The webinar recording consists of a 1-hour presentation, and a 30-minute Q&A.  You can watch the webinar on this page.  

RABI Back to School grants help with the costs of uniforms and school equipment

Knowing this can be an expensive time of year, the farming help charity Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution is here to support farmers with their ‘return to school’ grant of £500 for each child under 18. The grants can be used towards items such as clothing, footwear and school equipment. To start the process of making an application give RABI a call on 0800 188 4444 or email them on

Watch how to apply for an SFI Standards Agreement

Defra has produced a video giving guidance on how to apply for an SFI Standards Agreement.  Watch the video here.  

There is also a new leaflet which will guide you through the application steps.  Download the leaflet here.  

New Payments for Farmers leaflets are published by Defra

Defra has published two new information leaflets; New Farming Policies and Payments – an 18 page booklet giving full information on the new approach to farming policy and the grants, payments and advice which are now available to farmers and a 2 page leaflet which is a quick reference guide to the same information.  These replace the previous “Farming is Changing” leaflets.  Download both publications on the links below.

New Farming Policies and Payments – 18 page booklet

New Farming Policies and Payments – 2 page reference guide


Dry weather impacts on agri-environment schemes

If you have an agri-environment agreement and you cannot meet the agreement requirements due to adverse weather conditions, you must contact the Rural Payments Agency.  The RPA will review each individual agreement holder’s circumstances on a case by case basis.  This applies to Countryside Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship and the Sustainable Farming Incentive.  In all cases there is a deadline in which to contact the RPA.  The NFU has drawn up some useful information on this page.  

Future Farming Resilience Fund scales up its support for next phase starting October

Any farmer or land manager who receives Basic Payment Scheme payments in England is eligible for free business advice during the early years of the agricultural transition.   During the first phase of this advice, which ends in August 2022, 6600 farmers received advice from the various organisations who were awarded delivery contracts.  The next and final phase of support will open in October and will be scaled up. £32 million has been awarded to 17 organisations. This will support up to 32,000 farmers and land managers.  Further details on the delivery organisations will be published shortly.   To read more on this subject please visit this Defra Blog.  

Applications to the Sustainable Farming Incentive open today (30 June)

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) scheme is available to all farmers who currently receive Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments. It is designed to be accessible, and will reward sustainable practices that support food production and benefit the environment.  The SFI is the first of three new environmental land management schemes being introduced under the Agricultural Transition Plan.  There is no ‘application window’ and no deadline by which farmers must apply, so farmers can apply throughout the year at a time that works best for them.  This is the initial rollout of the scheme. It will be expanded over the next three years as Direct Payments are reduced. The full set of standards will be in place by 2025.

Read more about the Sustainable Farming Incentive and make an application on this page.    Or read this Defra blog post.

Educational grant for agricultural students

The Deakin and Combe Memorial Trust awards educational grants, on an annual basis, to candidates studying on agricultural and related courses. A limited number of grants are available for candidates who require financial assistance with their full-time education who are undertaking a course related to agriculture, and whose parents have made a contribution to agriculture in England or Wales.   Closing date for applications is 26 August 2022.  Visit this link to download an application form

Read more about the slurry storage grants being launched in the autumn

A new slurry storage grant will be launched in the autumn as part of the Farming Investment Fund.  Defra designed the new grant alongside a number of other measures to help livestock farmers make use of their manure and organic nutrients, backed up by better advice and fair, effective regulation of the rules over the agricultural transition period.    A new blog post will tell you all about the grants, how to apply and what you can do now to prepare for an application.   Read the blog post here.

Read more about the Local Nature Recovery scheme

Local Nature Recovery is the improved and more ambitious successor to the Countryside Stewardship scheme in England.  Defra has provided further detail on what Local Nature Recovery will pay for and has explained how they will be working with farmers over the course of the year to develop the detailed scheme design.  Read more here.

Full guidance on the Sustainable Farming Incentive is published

Defra has now published full guidance on the Sustainable Farming Incentive, including payment rates, how to prepare for an application, which type of land is eligible, and how the agreements work.  The application window opens in late June 2022.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is the first of 3 new environmental schemes being introduced under the Agricultural Transition Plan. The other 2 schemes are Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery.  SFI aims to help farmers manage land in a way that improves food production and is more environmentally sustainable.  Read all about the new scheme here. 

Warwickshire CC launches its Small Capital Grants programme for 2022/23

The latest round of Warwickshire County Council’s Small Capital Grants funding has just been launched.  The scheme will provide grant support of between £5,000 and £35,000 for eligible micro (fewer than 10 employees) and small enterprises (fewer than 50 employees).   Applicants must be based in Warwickshire or looking to locate here and be able to demonstrate significant growth potential. This is defined as an existing business seeking to increase turnover by 20% over the next three years or a new start-up forecasting to employ three more staff or generate £300,000 annual turnover within three years.  Applicants must usually have a minimum of 12 months of proven trading history, however start-up businesses with significant growth potential and trading history will be considered. For more information or to register an interest in receiving support, please email For more information about the small capital grants programme, please visit this page.

New packages for STEPS funding announced by Severn Trent

Severn Trent has announced some new packages of priority items for its 2022 STEPS funding.  These include up to £30,000 for pesticide washdown areas and free rainwater harvesting, soil testing for cover crop applicants in groundwater catchments and up to 75% funding for fencing in crypto catchments.  Grant rates have increased for many items and there are still a great range of options to choose from, all aimed at protecting the environment and water quality.  Within your catchment you will still find specific priority items – items that once implemented will make a fundamental difference to the health of the surrounding water environment.    You can make an application for mains STEPS funding all year round and the closing date is 31 January 2023.   To be eligible for funding you must be in a priority catchment area and be actively farming the land.  Visit this page for full information on the STEPS grant and to take a look at the map of priority catchments.

Lump Sum Exit Scheme opens for applications

Farmers in England who wish to leave the industry can apply for the new Lump Sum Exit Scheme as from 12 April.  This scheme will provide a payment so they can leave the sector in a managed way.  In return, farmers will be expected to either rent or sell their land or surrender their tenancy in order to create opportunities for new entrants and farmers wishing to expand their businesses.  The exit payment provided to eligible applicants will be based on the average direct payments made to the farmer for the 2019 to 2021 Basic Payment Scheme years. This reference figure will be capped at £42,500 and multiplied by 2.35 to calculate the lump sum.  Visit this page for full information on the scheme and how to apply.

The scheme is open for applications until 30 September 2022.

Read about the funding available for farmers all on one summary page

Defra and the RPA has published a summary of funding streams available to farmers, land managers, horticulturalists and foresters in England. It covers a number of potential income streams and links to more details that include:

  • Environmental land management funding
  • Trees, animal health, slurry, and protected landscape funding
  • Innovation, technology, research, and development funding
  • Funding for new entrants
  • Funding for those leaving farming.

Visit this page to read the summary.

Defra publishes update on the Lump Sum Exit Scheme

Defra plan to offer farmers in England who wish to exit the industry the option of applying in 2022 for a lump sum payment.   It is expected that farmers will be able to apply from April 2022 until the end of September 2022.   The payment will be made once the farmer has met the scheme rules, including transferring out their agricultural land (with some exceptions).  Some guidance on lump sum payments for farmers who leave or retire from farming, and delinked payments has now been published by Defra.  They expect payments to begin to be made for some farmers from November 2022, but farmers will have a longer period if they need it to arrange their exit.   Once the farmer has received the lump sum, they won’t be able to claim further Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments or delinked payments in England.   Visit this page for the full update.  

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.

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The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
2 Church Street, Marton, Rugby CV23 9RL

Tel: 07780 159291

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






Rural Hub


Jane Hampson

Tel: 07780 159291





Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Karen Ellis (Chair)
Amy Brant
Rosemary Collier
Emlyn Evans
Ian Jelley
Henry Lucas
Marion Perrett Pearson
Alexandra Robinson










Environmental Steering Group Members

Zoe Bell (Chair)
Tony Beysens
Meehal Grint, Kings Seeds
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
David Ruddock, Middlemarch Environmental
Louis Phipps, Bragborough Estate
Zoe Burrows, Rookery Farm




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