MBC awards REPF to Maidstone communities

Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) has awarded the first phase of Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) to communities across the borough.

The ‘REPF’ grants for Maidstone were introduced to support rural communities to help modernise assets, provide multiuse spaces to improve health, wellbeing and reduce rural loneliness, whilst having a positive impact on the local environment and contribute towards net zero.  The funds will also help reduce utility costs of community facilities with any savings being passed on to the users of the facility.

Grants of £50,000+ were made available by the Council to eligible organisations who were invited to apply in June 2023.  The first four successful projects that have been allocated funding by MBC are:

Staplehurst Free Church (SFC) which received £45,000; the SFC sought funding to install solar panels onto a large roof. Energy supply to the building is only electricity as gas is not installed. Commenting on their funding a representative of the church said: “We are very grateful for this award as it will be transformative in providing energy to our ‘all electric’ building and help us contribute to sustainability of the environment.”

Teston Parish Council which received- £45,000; the Village Hall’s annual energy costs, particularly electricity, have been considerable over the years and, due to recent world events, have increased greatly. Gas usage has also been significant and getting significantly more costly. This award will help reduce energy costs, funding the installation of solar panels and a more CO2 efficient heat source.

Hollingbourne Parish Council - phase 1 funding £22,466 / phase 2 funding allocation of £16,906; in their application the Parish Council said that the village hall/ community centre is the Cardwell Pavilion, which was built over 40 years ago. The facilities within the Centre have not been updated in over 30 years and consequently, the community centre is not a facility used by the villagers. This award will make such a positive difference to our little community.

Hollingbourne Parish Council said: “We are very appreciative of being awarded these much-needed funds. The Cardwell Pavilion, which is used, not only to hold Parish and Public meetings, but also by various local groups and in association with events held in the adjoining sports fieldThe building has not benefitted from any improvements for over 30 years and this will really help.

Boxley Parish Council - phase 1 funding £22,466 / phase 2 funding allocation of £32,532; in their application the Parish Council said that they would like to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of our community hall. A recent heat loss survey identified that most of our heat is lost through the windows and doors so we would like to replace them with more thermally efficient ones.

Cllr Claudine Russell, MBC Lead Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Engagement said:

The Council received a wide variety of applications for this funding and we are delighted to be able to award these initial REPF grants to these community groups which should help enhance projects to improve where they live.

In September 2022, the Government announced that the REPF (as part of Levelling Up), was to be made available to support countryside communities across England. MBC was allocated £539,728 to spend between 2023 and 2025 to be awarded to projects for rural communities across the borough.

Claudine continued:

We will be introducing a second phase of funding at the end of 2023 when grants of £50,000+ will be available for groups to apply for and I would encourage as many rural communities as possible to come forward and apply for an REPF grant which could make a difference to their communities to upgrade a facility and improve their local environment and sustainability, supporting the rural economy into the future.

To discuss any aspect of the Rural England Prosperity Fund before submitting an application, or need guidance to complete the application form, please contact us by emailing: climateandbiodiversity@Maidstone.gov.uk

This project – ‘REPF’ received funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Information about UKSPF can be found at:

UK Shared Prosperity Fund