PROJECTS to boost jobs and skills in West Somerset and parts of Taunton Deane are being offered one final chance to get money from a European fund.

Businesses and community groups are being invited by Somerset County Council to bid for grants under the Western Somerset Local Action for Rural Communities programme.

Somerset County Council economy chief David Hall said: “This is the last chance to put forward an expression of interest before the scheme closes on March 30.

“Applicants can bid for up to £15,000; a maximum of 50% of overall project costs for businesses and 75% for community groups.

“Over the past three years the European-funded LARC programme has sought to encourage projects which will have lasting community benefits, and to date 50 local groups and businesses have turned their ideas into reality.

“This has included the installation of solar power at Wiveliscombe’s community swimming pool, paving improvements in Dunster, an internet radio skills training scheme in Winsford and electric mountain bike hire on Exmoor.

“Other projects have seen the refurbishment of a historic building to help promote the work of the Exmoor Pony Centre, improvements to Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey and the development of a mobile sustainable timber sawmill on the Quantocks.

“In this final round of funding we’re keen to see projects which will help develop the rural economy in areas such as tourism, business support, job creation, farm diversification or training, and that overall will help improve the quality of life for people.”

The West Somerset area covers 75 parishes across West Somerset, Exmoor and the Quantocks, as well as communities close to Nether Stowey and Wiveliscombe.

Expressions of interest for projects should be submitted by Friday, March 30, to AMS For more information call 01823-356865.