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What is Convergence?

Rural Development Programme for England

October 2011

RDPE in Cornwall – Still open for business

Following the transition of the Rural Development Programme for England to DEFRA the small team based in Truro have settled into the new office space and are getting to grips with the new culture and systems.  The new contact details for the team are:

Catherine Martin, RDPE Manager – 03000 604311 –
James Glover, RDPE Adviser – 03000 604318 –
Paul Dean, RPDE Adviser – 03000 604308 –
Shaney Kavanagh, RDPE Administrator – 03000 604326 –

The office address is – RDPE Delivery Team, Pydar House, Pydar Street, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2XD.

Programme Update
To date there have been over 60 ‘business led’ projects approved in Cornwall ranging from £5.7million for the Trewithen Dairies Milky Way project to £9,000 for a cattle foot trimming service.

There are a number of ‘commissioned schemes’ which cover Skills, Healthy Livestock, Resource Management, tourisms and Local Action Groups.  There are 4 Local Action Groups in the Convergence Area, East Cornwall, Clay Country, West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

For further information contact the RDPE Delivery Team in Truro or there are a number of useful websites:

RDPE Network

South West Agricultural Resource Management Knowledge Hub 

South West Healthy Livestock Initiative

The future of RDPE in Cornwall
There is currently approximately £20 million available to projects in the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for businesses with projects that meet the eligibility criteria of RDPE.

In order to facilitate delivery of this programme a new small grant scheme is due to be launched in the autumn likely to focus on farming competitiveness and animal health and welfare.  This will be alongside a new strategic grant programme for larger projects.  For further information on either of these schemes please contact the RDPE delivery team in Truro.

The Local Action Groups will be able to give advice on projects in their area and the availability of grants to businesses operating in the areas above.

March 2011

The Sustainable Rural Tourism programme, supported by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), aims to attract extra visitors to the south west through six projects focussing on South West Coast Path, Cornish Mining World Heritage site, inland water bodies, cycle & multi-use trails and the natural habitat.

December 2010

New silos increase capacity at Kernow Grain
A major development to increase grain storage facilities at Kernow Grain, near Bodmin, is complete and four new silos, each with 1,000 tonnes capacity, are now operational.  Kernow Grain began work to install the new grain silos in April this year (2010) after receiving investment of c £380,000 from the Rural Development Programme for England.  

Entry Level Stewardship – can you afford not to renew?
It is now five years since Entry Level Stewardship was introduced and farmers and land managers whose agreements are coming up for renewal are invited to attend one of a series of free workshops.

August 2010

Farming Help network expands thanks to £½ million RDPE grant
Three charities that provide practical and emotional support to farmers, farm workers and their families during times of crisis are extending their work thanks to the RDPE.  The ARC-Addington Fund, the Farm Crisis Network and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution have been given a £510,000 grant for their work. They can now recruit more staff & volunteers, develop new services and provide care for elderly and disabled farmers and farm workers.

Upland farmers invited to book free one-to-one farm advice visit
Upland farmers and land managers on Bodmin Moor are being invited to book onto a one-to-one farm visit to equip them with the knowledge and confidence to enter into an Uplands Entry Level Stewardship (Uplands ELS) agreement. The voluntary scheme encourages hill farmers to deliver simple land management to benefit the farm environment. The free advice visit is an opportunity to hear more about the options available.

Four more SWHLI projects set to go live
Four more projects in an £8.2 million support package to improve the profitability of the South West livestock sector are set to go live. The Control of BVD and Johne’s Disease in Beef and Dairy herds, South West Healthy Ruminants Initiative, Animal Health and Welfare Training Programme for Pig Producers and the Poultry (layers) and Game Bird Initiative are due to start this month. They are among nine projects in the South West Healthy Livestock Initiative (SWHLI), an RDPE programme to help farmers boost their profits, increase the welfare of their stock and improve produce.  See the South West Healthy Livestock Initiative website.

RDPE ends 40 year wait for the Isles of Scilly
Residents on the Isles of Scilly (IoS) have seen their wish for a year-round swimming facility come true thanks to the RDPE. An enclosure for Normandy Swimming Pool has been the single most requested community facility over the past 40 years. Now, RDPE and the IoS Local Action Group have stepped in to help.

New recreation facility in St Ives
An important recreation facility for people in St Ives is set for a make-over after an RDPE grant. The Consols Pond Association has been given £1,500 by the West Cornwall Local Action Group. The fund will contribute to work to improve paths, seating and a decked area for wheel chairs and young people.

July 2010

RDPE open for business
RDPE is very much open for business and is continuing its important work to help rural businesses and communities across the South West of England. Following recent announcements by the Coalition Government about the future of regional development agencies and public sector spending, Rob Hatt, Head of Food and Rural Development at the South West RDA, has been in discussion with Defra to seek clarity about the future of the RDPE.

£18 million boost for tourism in the South West
Tourism in the South West of England is set to receive an £18 million boost through a joint public and private sector initiative - the Sustainable Rural Tourism Programme - to make the most of the region’s landscape and features.  

South West TB Advisory Service goes live
The South West TB Advisory Service – the first phase of a £8.2 million ground-breaking support package to improve the profitability of the South West livestock sector – has gone live. The service is one of nine projects within the South West Healthy Livestock Initiative. Funded by the RDPE, the projects aims to help farmers boost their profits, increase the health and welfare of their stock and improve the quality of meat, milk, hides, fleece etc. 

Soils for Profit (S4P) breaks the 500 barrier
Soils for Profit (S4P), a project helping farmers and landowners to improve the management and use of their soils, nutrients and manures, has celebrated its 500th on-farm advisory visit. These free visits provide farmers with practical advice and an action plan written specifically for them. The plan includes detailed technical information on resource use and a set of recommended actions, some of which may be eligible for support through a capital grant scheme under the South West Agricultural Resource Management (SWARM) initiative.

SWARM small capital grants head towards 150
The number of Small Capital Grants awarded through the South West Agricultural Resource Management initiative (SWARM) has reached 133, with another 40 under appraisal. SWARM is a programme designed to help farmers have more profitable and resilient businesses by managing their resources more efficiently. It includes farm visits, advice on resource management, developing action plans and looking at the potential for support through a grant. From installations of a slurry separator to purchasing of GPS systems, the Small Capital Grants scheme is proving to be a real benefit for farmers and their businesses.

March 2010

Discover the Extraordinary
Discover the Extraordinary, a project to develop the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site through product development and marketing, is to receive almost £2 million of investment from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) as part of its Sustainable Rural Tourism investment theme.

The programme will invest £1.75 million in the project in Cornwall, (total project cost £2 million) and £208,000 in West Devon (total project cost £239,000) to encourage visitors to the far South West with resulting economic benefits to the wider rural economy, including increased visitor spend.

Discover the Extraordinary will include:

  • Improvements to visitor facilities and interpretation resources at twelve World Heritage Site visitor gateway sites
  • A web portal for visitors to the World Heritage Site
  • Interpretive trail publications
  • Interactive audio and AV interpretive trails about the World Heritage Site, downloadable from the new World Heritage Site web portal, themed for different audiences.
  • A pilot project sending information about the World Heritage Site to visitors’ mobile phones.
  • Marketing and PR activity to encourage more people to visit the World Heritage Site outside the peak tourist season.
  • In addition, the project will provide touch screens with information about all the South West’s World Heritage Sites at tourist information centres, World Heritage Site gateway visitor centres and other relevant World Heritage Site attractions in the South West.

February 2010

Dairy expansion will create new jobs
Cornwall’s dairy sector was given a boost this week with the news that Trewithen Dairy – third largest buyer of milk in the county – is about to embark on a major expansion.  With the aid of a record £5.7 million grant from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) in South West England, Trewithen is set to increase its production by 80 per cent from 25 million litres of milk a year to 44 million – more than 80 per cent from direct supply farms.  Read more...

November 2009

Business led applications
The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) has received a good level of business led applications to date, with the South West RDA’s regional targets for applications received being met.

Cornwall approvals
There have been 14 projects approved in Cornwall with a total allocation of £1,665,689 for the life of the scheme.

In appraisal
There are five applications in appraisal with a total grant request of £6,268,751.


Community and Social Enterprise
More than £7 million of RDPE investment has been allocated to this theme, targeted in two ways:

  • A grant to support projects from community and social enterprises for the improved delivery of, and access to, basic services.
  • Advice and support for community and social enterprises that deliver basic services, in order to improve their overall viability.

Sustainable Rural Tourism
Two of the six applications have currently been approved with the remaining four due to complete the appraisal process by December.  All projects have activities and spend allocated to Cornwall.

SW Healthy Livestock Initiative
The South West Healthy Livestock Initiative (SWHLI) grant opportunity was launched on 14 September and closed on 23 December 2009. The programme brief, guidance for applicants and supporting evidence base has all been published and is available at the SW Rural Gateway website.

SW Agricultural Resource Management
The SW Agricultural Resource Management (ARM) initiative is up and running.  There have been on farm visits taking place through Soils for Profit and Resource Efficiency for Farms being managed by Natural England, the Environment Agency and Business Link.  This has enabled the process to be checked and amended where necessary. 

August 2009

Programme start-up has been steady, the recent increase in activity is expected to continue, reaching a plateau of around 10 projects per month by the end of 2009/10.

Commissioned activity
Approx 50% of the programme. 

  • Rural Enterprise Gateway (Business Link) – targeted specialist support for rural businesses
  • Vocational Training Scheme (Duchy College) – demand-led training
  • Agricultural Resource Management – specialist advice and capital grants to improve farm profitability, scheme is due to be launched later in the Summer

Business-led projects
Adding value to agricultural and woodland products or supporting farm diversification – approx  35% of the programme.

4 Local Action Groups
Approx 15% of the programme.  Strengthening the rural economy, improving access to services, using the environment as an economic driver.

June 2009

Royal Cornwall Show
The South West RDA’s rural team will be attending the Royal Cornwall Show from 4 to 6 June – hopefully some of you will see them at stand 282.

May 2009

Crisp idea for Cornish spuds
A new business, the Cornish Crisp Company Ltd is about to set up in Callington - with the aim of 100,000 packets of crisps coming off the production line this year.  The business is the brainchild of Sue Wolstenholme who decided that the good reputation of Cornish potatoes should not be restricted to crops straight from the fields, but could be used for high-quality processed foods as well.  Investment of £120,000 from the Rural Development Programme for England has helped get the business up and running.  Read more...

Choice cheese-maker to increase production
An award-winning Cornish cheese manufacturer is increasing production thanks to investment from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).  There has been a steadily increasing demand for the premium cheeses produced by Whalesborough Farm Foods Ltd, of Launcells, near Bude, which have won regional and national awards.  Investment of £17,000 from RDPE has helped move production to rented premises on other farms so production can increase.  Read more...

April 2009

Six proposals cross the first hurdle
After a thorough review of the 53 projects seeking funding from the Sustainable Rural Tourism programme, six wide-ranging proposals are being encouraged to proceed to the full application stage.  The competition was extremely high with projects looking for £40m of investment from a funding pot of £12.8m.  If all proposals finally get the go-ahead they will see ambitious schemes taking place in every county in South West England from Cornwall to Gloucestershire. 

For further information contact  South West Tourism

Ten of the region’s fifteen Local Actions Groups are now fully operational.  They include the three Cornwall groups – West Cornwall, Clay Country and East Cornwall – and, having signed contracts based on their delivery plans, the groups are finalising their first projects which should be going live over the next few weeks.  There are contact details for each of the Local Action Groups on the South West RDA website.

‘RDPE - One Year On’ conference
The ‘RDPE One Year On’ conference, held in April 2009 looked at the programme’s progress and outlined challenges overcome. 


For further information regarding RDPE in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly please contact:

James Glover

Or visit the following websites: