Marketing Cheshire helps create £1.2m investment

New figures have revealed over £1.2m has been provided to support tourism businesses across rural Cheshire and Warrington.

Marketing Cheshire, the tourism body for Cheshire and Warrington, said it has played a major role in driving the investment by helping deliver the Rural Development Programme for England.

Marketing Cheshire said it has helped businesses expand and create jobs in rural communities across Cheshire and Warrington.

So far, the organisation said 16 projects in Cheshire and Warrington were supported through £463,000 of grant money, levering in £740,000 of private sector investment.

Projects include the conversion of redundant farm buildings into B&Bs, hotel refurbishment, increasing the grading of camping and caravan parks, creating a children's play area and supporting the growth of local events.

The Rural Development Programme for England delivers money from the EU and the Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs via the European Fund for Rural Development.

Marketing Cheshire is responsible for place marketing and promotion, as well as traditional visitor economy support. It has driven the initiative forward through two programmes.

The first programme, known as Tourism Connect, aims to improve accommodation, whilst the second programme, Tourism Vitality, looks to improve events and attractions across Cheshire and Warrington.

Chris Brown, chief executive of Marketing Cheshire, said: "These figures show just how much is being delivered into rural communities through this initiative which is playing an important role in helping to raise quality standards in our visitor economy.

"The funding is helping to set new benchmarks at attractions and events across rural areas of Cheshire and Warrington.

"Grants are helping to attract major sums of private sector investment and the project is also driving up design and accommodation standards as well as the performance of visitor attractions in rural Cheshire.

"We are delighted with the very tangible results we have seen so far and the boost that is being given to the rural economy."

Marketing Cheshire said approved projects to date include work to improve Cholmondeley Pageant of Power and the funding of a new visitor event at Bolesworth Castle.

Other projects include the funding of the final phase of refurbishment at Inglewood Manor, near Chester, and the upgrading of rooms and creation of meeting rooms at Harrop Fold Farm at Rainow, near Macclesfield.

Barns and redundant farm buildings have been converted into holiday accommodation in a number of projects, including Hollins Farm near Holmes Chapel.

The Tourism Vitality project offers grants of up to £10,000 and encourages training and marketing within the business.

Grants of between £25,000 and £60,000 are on offer under the Tourism Connect programme. The programme assists operations offering tourist accommodation through the use of professional design, business planning and environmental advice, as well as encouraging training and marketing.

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