Rural businesses and key rural representatives gathered for the first NEFRAN Rural Business Conference on the 24th June at Kirkley Hall Campus.
The event was designed to promote the work of the North East Farming and Rural Affairs Network (NEFRAN) and provide information to support the growth of rural businesses.
Around 150 delegates attended to take part in a full day that offered delegates the opportunity to meet business support and funding providers, attend workshops and listen to key note speakers highlighting key issues facing the rural economy, the north east devolution deal and what had been achieved through the Pilot Rural Growth Network Programme.
Key note speaker Lord Donald Curry of Kirkharle CBE, said rural businesses had a huge part to play in supporting the regional economy and in creating more and better jobs for all. Rural businesses needed to be well supported. He referred to the opportunities of the rural economy – the strength of its diversity and the potential growth that tourism, culture and heritage businesses could generate.
Antony Braithwaite, Chair of NEFRAN who chaired the conference said, ”It came over very strongly that a rural voice is needed to take part in the devolution and Brexit revolution that is about to occur. NEFRAN is ideally placed to undertake this role and influence the relevant decision makers.”
The conference reflected on the Pilot North East Rural Growth Network Programme and what had been achieved and learnt. This has been used to inform new support programmes going forward. Businesses were directed to sign up to the North East Growth Hub for information on grant funding, business support, what’s happening in the business community and up and coming events: www.northeastgrowthhub.co.uk
The Rural Growth Network Programme Team who currently manages the Rural Growth Network capital grant offered to be the first point of contact. For help and advice on rural business support contact one of the Rural Growth Network Implementation Officers based at Arch:-
The conference was funded and supported by the North East Rural Growth Network with support from Arch and Kirkley Hall.