Business Doncaster support and Government funding helps rural businesses thrive

A number of rural businesses have flourished and expanded their commercial offer after successfully applying for a Rural England Prosperity Fund grant.

The grant was made available to small and micro businesses in rural areas by Business Doncaster, the City of Doncaster Council Economic Development team, through the Rural England Prosperity Fund, integrated into the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.  The team provided expert guidance and support in completing and detailed processing of all successful applications.

The key aim of the programme was to facilitate sustainable economic growth in the rural areas of Doncaster, through supporting the delivery of innovative project activity. This was to enable rural businesses across different sectors whose activities reflect the landscape, environment, culture and heritage of Doncaster to survive, diversify and thrive.

In the first funding round, businesses were invited to apply for funding towards projects that would help strengthen the rural economy, drive enterprise growth as well as create and/or safeguard jobs.

Business expansion, sustainability, diversification and environmental sustainability projects were just some of those supported in the first round of grant awards from the Doncaster fund.   

Councillor Glyn Jones, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing and Business said: “Our rural businesses are vital in supporting our local economy and it’s great to hear about some of the positive stories from local business owners who have been able to expand their commercial ventures thanks to our support.

“Whether it be buying new equipment or investing in green initiatives, it’s rewarding to know that we’ve played a key part in helping them to grow their business here in Doncaster.”

Chris Dungworth, Head of Service at Business Doncaster added: “Business Doncaster has supported each business through the application process and is well positioned to support more local businesses that may benefit from this Rural Grant. I would urge anyone that feels that they may qualify to check through the criteria and get in touch with a member of the Business Doncaster team. We will be more than happy to help.”

Several businesses have now completed their projects using funding awarded in 2023 and more businesses will be able to benefit from the latest round of grant funding recently made available in March 2024.


S P Woolhouse and Sons based at High Melton used the grant to install 500KWh of solar panels to enable their work towards the business net zero and carbon neutral targets.

The business has a large electric demand and currently takes 1.8 million KWHs per year from the electric grid to dry hay products that they process and supply globally.

Michael Woolhouse, Sales Director said: “Building up our sustainable credentials has been on our mind for many years. There is no doubt that further solar panels will increase productivity and provide us with a more renewable and sustainable way of drying more products. The rural grant funding has been perfect for us, we have received fantastic support from Business Doncaster in bringing about the project in a timely and efficient way.”


Marshall Farming based in the village of Arksey, work in partnership with organisations such as The Conservation Volunteers and The Coal Authority who provide public amenity space accessible to Doncaster residents as well as amenity and conservation grass care maintenance on sites including Brodsworth Community Woodland, Bentley Community Woodland, Armthorpe Community Woodland.

They used the rural grant funding to purchase an industrial flail mower, that would operate with their existing agricultural tractor. Heavy duty flail mowers have the capacity to mow amenity grassland areas but also deal with conservation areas, that often include self-set trees and more dense undergrowth.

Andrew Marshall, Managing Director said: “The purchase of the new equipment will enable us to tender for other contract opportunities within the Doncaster area. The Rural Prosperity Fund has been instrumental and essential for us to scale up our operation and has enabled us to buy the equipment to grow our business much quicker than we would have otherwise been able to do”.


Another business to benefit from the Rural Prosperity Grant is DT Industries based in Thorne. They used the funding to invest in cutting edge laser marking technologies, giving them the ability to mark products with customer logos, barcodes or simple day and date information for customer traceability.

Damien Mason, Managing Director said: “Adopting laser marking will offer a wide range of benefits for the business including improved efficiency, product quality, traceability and a reduction in the use of consumables. It could also lead to us being able to target new industries such as the automotive industry, replacing paper with QR Codes and using laser to mark plastic products.”


The second round of the Rural England Prosperity Fund is now open. Applications are invited from small and micro businesses to help improve productivity and strengthen our rural economy.

For further information and qualifying criteria please click the button below:

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

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For the latest funding and grant opportunities available in Doncaster please click the button below: