FOREST businesses in the area are being invited to apply for grants of up to £25,000.

Businesses with up to 250 employees and social enterprises are eligible for the Department of Food, Environment, and Rural Affairs’ Shared Prosperity Fund grants of between £3,000 and £25,000.

It comes as part of the Shared Prosperity Fund, after the Forest of Dean was identified as an eligible location for Rural England Prosperity Funding (REPF) by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The funding can be used for developing tourism, farm diversification, improving internet access, energy efficiency and low carbon technology, as well as improving land and premises security.

The Forest of Dean District Council said that the funding can cover projects that will be completed between April and the end of March next year. Businesses will have to make a 20 per cent contribution.

Applications will be considered by a panel of representatives from the Forest Council.

Among the successful applicants from the first round of grant applications were the Forest Deli in Coleford and Plump Hill Farm in Longhope, who received £22,000 between them.

Forest Deli used the grant to help expand the production and sale of their homegrown products.

The Forest Council’s Cabinet member for Economy Cllr Johnathan Lane (Green, Tidenham) said:

“The Rural Business Grants are a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to get some financial support to help them develop in a sustainable way.  

“In round one, two businesses were awarded the grant, and it’s great to see that they are getting their projects underway. 

“We’ve also been meeting with local businesses and listening to the feedback we’ve received.

Many have ambitious plans for the future, so it’s brilliant that we’re able to offer this funding opportunity to even more people.

“This is an opportunity for businesses to bring their plans to life and I’d encourage any business that is eligible to apply.

Find out more about the support available to you and your business on the Council's dedicated business support page.”

The deadline for applications is Sunday (March 3).