Applications are now being accepted for grants of up to £5,000, as part of a new initiative to help drive projects that celebrate and promote locally sourced and produced food and drink.
A total of £250,000 is available for the Connect Local Regional Food Fund, which will support collaborative projects in their early stages.
Making the announcement ahead of Scotland’s Food and Drink Excellence Awards in Edinburgh, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“We’re very fortunate in Scotland to have a food and drink sector that is internationally renowned.
“It is a major driver in our economy and supports around 17,000 businesses, and 115,000 jobs – as well as providing an increasingly important contribution to Scotland’s unique tourist offering.
“The Scottish Government’s aim is to support the industry’s ambition to double its value to £30 billion by 2030. In order to do that we’re working with partners to develop new and existing markets, boosting innovation and skills, and supporting local producers via business rates exemptions, and schemes like the Connect Local Regional Food Fund.
“These grants of up to £5000 will support collaborative local projects, providing vital funding when these initiatives need it most. This relatively modest outlay will result in long-term benefits for our regional food industry and the wider economy.”
Ceri Ritchie, Connect Local Project Manager and Sector Manager for Food and Drink at SAC Consulting, commented:
“The Regional Food Fund will allow for support to Scottish food and drink producers and regional groups and networks, including farm retail and local food events, where traditionally funding can be hard to find. In particular, it is hoped that the funding will help support new collaborative initiatives in their early stages and will also deliver benefits to Scotland’s local food and drink sector over the long-term.”
James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink added:
“Food and drink is a national success story and it is central to Scotland’s economy, but businesses have told us we need to focus more on our home market. As a direct result of these conversations, we are delighted to be launching the Regional Food Fund alongside the Scottish Government and Connect Local. Not only will it will provide funding to those who normally struggle to find it, but it will provide real benefit to local producers and their communities across the country.
“I encourage everyone make the most of this opportunity and apply.”