Part of the Rural Business Grant, the investment was established after the governments Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs identified the Forest of Dean as an eligible location for the fund — with the initiative aiming to improve the productivity of rural areas, with goals linked to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Cabinet member for the economy, councillor Johnathan Lane, said: 'We have some fantastic local businesses in the Forest of Dean and, as a council, we’re always looking at more ways to support them. So, it’s brilliant to be able to offer more funding through the Rural England Prosperity Fund.
'Both of these businesses are key to their local community and the Forest of Dean’s diverse economy so, it’s great to be able to award both this funding.'
Forest Deli works with over 50 local suppliers, serving up a huge selection of produce from cheese to wine — it also won a Gold Taste of the West award in 2023, stocking plenty of Great Taste award recipients, including Forest Kombucha and Wye Valley Meadery.
The delicatessen plans to use its grant to expand the sale of its own branded products by improving its kitchen and equipment, while significantly increasing the area it uses to grow ingredients.
Plump Hill Farm is a small family-run business specialising in traditional farming practices to produce home-reared and ethical lamb and pork meat to both local trade businesses and the public at pop-ups across the district.
With a strong 'farm to fork' ethos, it plans to use the grant to install solar power technology, as well as security cameras for its off-grid farm to improve the safety and welfare of its animals.
Another round of funding is currently available — and businesses can find information on how to apply on the Forest of Dean District Council website, with an applicant deadline of Sunday 3 March 2024.