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PCF Grants to Help Rural UK Communities Get Better Broadband

Monday, Aug 23rd, 2021 (7:29 am) - Score 856
Sheep on a meadow and the Dinas Reservoir, near Ponterwyd Ceredigion, Dyfed, Wales, UK

The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which is a UK-wide charity that was founded by The Prince of Wales, has opened up applications for their ‘Supporting Rural Communities’ fund that could provide up to £25,000 over 2 years to support “innovative projects” that “create a long-term difference” in remote rural areas (e.g. broadband upgrades).

The Supporting Rural Communities (PDF) grant programme awards “at least£500,000 each year to support projects that enhance the viability and sustainability of rural communities across the UK, and it recently opened up for new applications on 9th August. The scheme is currently due to remain open for new applications until Friday 17th September 2021.

Apparently, they’re particularly seeking projects in East Anglia, the North East of England, Northern Ireland, and Wales this year, although that doesn’t completely exclude other areas from putting in an application. We should add that part of the funding for this programme comes from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The fund isn’t too prescriptive on who can apply, but successful projects must be able to demonstrate how they are addressing one of more of the following objectives:

• Improving the economic or social resilience of a UK rural community.
• Reducing isolation for people living in rural areas through improving service provision.
• Creating a rural community fit for the future.

We understand that upgrades to local broadband ISP and network infrastructure would fall into this category. Likewise, we couldn’t see any reason why such funding can’t be combined with gigabit broadband vouchers from the government, which might help to make some borderline deployment projects financially viable.

Projects that secure funding do not have to start immediately, but all projects must be completed by 31st March 2024. Admittedly, the size of the fund is fairly small, and thus we suspect it wouldn’t be able to help too many broadband deployments. But if you live in a remote rural community that is just short of the funding it needs in order to achieve better broadband, then this might be something worth pursuing.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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