Bag a £5,000 Rural Start-Up Fund

Forest Holidays and The Prince’s Countryside Fund invite applications to annual £5,000 Rural Start-Up Fund

Forest Holidays and The Prince’s Countryside Fund are inviting applications to their Rural Start-Up Fund, which supports entrepreneurs and start-up businesses based in the British countryside.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund was set up in 2010 by HRH The Prince of Wales with the aim of supporting sustainable rural economies. This is why Forest Holidays has teamed up with The Prince’s Countryside Fund to create the Rural Start-Up Fund, an exciting opportunity for rural businesses to receive financial support as they embark on a new business venture. A total of £5,000 is available in the Rural Start-Up Fund in 2021, to be awarded to one winning business or shared between a number of rural startups.

Sophie Willingale, Rural Start-Up Fund winner for 2020, said: “The grant has made a real difference to me this year and allowed me to develop the business in a way we definitely couldn’t have without it. A lot of time and energy has gone into renewing the vineyard, and in particular diversifying the business to enable large tour groups to visit – certainly challenging during the pandemic!

“Aside from the funding, the mentoring support has been invaluable – it’s been incredible having access to such a wealth of knowledge and such enthusiastic, positive individuals backing me who genuinely seem to care about the business. I would encourage everyone to apply!”

Samantha Rowley, Head of Retail and F&B Operations at Forest Holidays said: “Playing an active part in the life of the villages and towns surrounding our locations has always been extremely important to us, but we still want to do more to help build a sustainable future for the rural economy. Inevitably, one of the biggest barriers to setting up a new business is the initial financial commitment and business support needed. Our new start-up grant programme aims to give entrepreneurs and start-up businesses the help required to overcome these initial challenges to grow their business locally.”

Applicants must be 18 or over, and embarking on a rural business venture. They must be able to demonstrate how their business will, in some manner, support rural communities, promote conservation of the countryside, or support rural sustainability. To find out more and apply, please visit:

Applications close at midday on Monday 25 October 2021.

Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, The Prince’s Countryside Fund is the only UK-wide charity that empowers family farms and rural communities to ensure their future. Over the past decade, The Prince’s Countryside Fund has invested more than £10 million to over 400 projects working across the UK which improve service provision in rural areas, support farming businesses and rural enterprises, and provide training opportunities for young people. We’ve supported nearly 1000 farming families to take charge of their business through The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, and working with our Farm Support Group Initiative, helped countless others to access local support when it’s needed most.

The countryside, what it does, what it produces and what it offers impacts on us all. The Prince’s Countryside Fund wishes to see a thriving countryside – a living, breathing, working place, so that it is there for everyone. In order to create a real future for rural Britain, we work in a number of ways:

  • Investing at least £500,000 through our grant programmes for rural communities to catalyse community-led solutions, and illuminating their success so that others can follow.

  • Leading initiatives, such as The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme which offers free environmental and business skills training to family farms across the UK.

  • Developing new schemes to assist young people and new entrants into farming and strengthening our networks of support such as the Farm Support Groups Initiative so they are ready and able to provide local support to farming communities.

  • Commissioning research into issues affecting farming families and rural communities.

  • Being an advocate for the countryside by bringing together individuals and businesses to help tackle current challenges such as the climate crisis.

  • Helping communities in crisis through our Emergency Fund and by collaborating with Farming Help.

To find out more, visit the Fund’s website at

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