THE next round of funding for rural businesses and communities is now live.

Grants of between £2,500 and £25,000 are available with round three of the Malvern Hills Rural Fund.

The grant aims to support new small or micro businesses in rural areas, including helping farmers to diversify into other sectors, and growing tourism.

The money can only be used to fund physical projects such as new buildings or renovations and not for staff or day-to-day running costs. Projects should be delivered between delivered between July and December 2024.

Individual grants are on offer, but businesses will be expected to match 50 per cent of the total cost of a project.

Expressions of interest must be submitted through the Malvern Hills District Council website using the online form by February 23. Bids will be shortlisted on February 26 and these will be invited to work up a full application for March 15.

The funding comes from the Government's Rural England Prosperity Fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

More information about the qualifying criteria for the fund and how to apply can be found at