Christmas has arrived early for rural businesses

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RURAL businesses in north Bucks have received an early Christmas gift after netting almost £100,000 in grants.

The Boycott Farm Shop in Stowe and The St Laurence Church Rooms in Winslow have been awarded £45,000 and £50,000 respectively as part of the LEADER programme, which offers grants to farmers, rural businesses and community groups to enable them to strengthen rural economies.

Boycott Farm Shop is run by husband and wife team Rosemary and Richard Hilsdon who started the business with an honesty box.

Since then, the couple have worked hard to develop the business and have been awarded £45,000 to expand their restaurant area.

Mr Hilsdon said: “On high-days and holidays the team room can get very busy.

“It was great but we were running out of tables. LEADER helped us purchase tables and chairs, a marquee and building material.

“The tea room now opens onto a terrace which offers fantastic countryside views. I am expecting a very busy 2011.”

Meanwhile, the The St Laurence Church Rooms in Winslow are being extended to offer more room for events and space for historic town archives.

Project manager Paul Bagni said: “This grant has been a life-saver for the project. It is so important to the village and the local support has been overwhelming.”

To find out more about LEADER grants you can contact Nick Phillips on 01844 210447 or Sue Reynders on 01844 210407 or visit www.leader-programme.org.uk.

> For more about the opening of the St Laurence Church Rooms, turn to page 2