Small Business Service will enhance support for rural businesses

In a ground-breaking new collaboration, Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) is joining forces with Advance Northumberland and Northumberland County Council to take rural support in the region to new heights through the Northumberland Small Business Service, an initiative set to ignite growth, resilience and sustainability throughout rural Northumberland.  

Under this dynamic new partnership, NNPA’s Farming and Rural Enterprise Team has been chosen as a key player to provide farm enterprise support throughout the county. The programme will complement existing support structures for small and micro businesses across rural Northumberland and will run in tandem with NNPA’s ongoing commitment to support farming and rural enterprise within the National Park.  

The Northumberland Small Business Service, is delivered by Advance Northumberland delivering on behalf of Northumberland County Council. The project is part funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority Investment Fund and by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the Rural England Prosperity Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority as the lead authority. 

The Northumberland Small Business Service emerged from a comprehensive rural review conducted in 2022 by Northumberland County Council. It encompasses a wide array of services, including business development, diagnostic support, and brokerage. 

NNPA’s dedicated team of farming specialists will lead the charge on the brand-new funding programme tailored for farm enterprises in Northumberland with the aim of empowering these businesses to thrive, enhance their resilience, and explore opportunities for farm diversification.  

The programme boasts a formidable capital grant investment fund, with £2 million available to supercharge direct capital investment. These funds are earmarked for expanding productive capacity and venturing into new markets or products. Grants will be awarded based on their ability to create and safeguard jobs in the rural sector and will range in size from a minimum of £10,000 up to a maximum of £300,000.  

Pauline Wall, Director of Park Management, Northumberland National Park Authority said: “The Farming and Rural Enterprise team are driven by an unwavering commitment to the stewardship of Northumberland National Park’s diverse landscapes, habitats and species, and recognise the vital role that farmers, landowners and rural businesses play in conserving and enhancing Northumberland’s countryside and boosting the local economy. This commitment, highlighted in the National Park’s new Management Plan, is the backbone of their work and we are excited to take the team’s passion and expertise further afield for the benefit of the entire county.” 

Demand for the Farming and Rural Enterprise team’s knowledge and advice has surged in recent years, as farmers and landowners navigate new agricultural policies focused on nature recovery, climate action and access.  

For any farm businesses in Northumberland that could benefit from this support, please contact  

The Northumberland Small Business Service is generously funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and the Rural England Prosperity Fund.