How would you boost the rural economy?

People throughout Oxfordshire are being asked for their views on how we could boost the county’s rural economy.

A Local Action Group, made up of representatives of Oxfordshire’s community, private and public sectors, is bidding for LEADER funding which is being made available by Defra and the European Union for projects that help to increase the economy in rural areas. If the Oxfordshire bid is successful at least £1.2 million will be made available for rural projects around the county.

As part of the bidding process the group is seeking views on its draft strategy for rural development funding which sets out how Oxfordshire could benefit from the additional money.

Key themes outlined in the draft strategy include promoting the River Thames and encouraging the sale of local food..

Elizabeth Gillespie, Chair of the Local Action Group, said: “We have gathered a lot of evidence about Oxfordshire’s rural economy and spoken to key organisations such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and the National Farmers Union. However before we submit our strategy we want as many people as possible to have a say about how they would like to see us use the funding.’

To have a look at the strategy, and to give your views on how the money could be used, please visit LEADER website. The consultation ends on 22 August.

The strategy has to be submitted to Defra by Friday 5 September and it is anticipated that the Local Action Group should hear in November if the bid has been successful.

The Oxfordshire bid is being administered by South Oxfordshire District Council on behalf of the Southern Oxfordshire Local Action Group.