Cumbrian businesses and organisations showcased the success of an EU initiative which has pumped £4.68 million into the county over the last five years.

A total of 185 projects in Cumbria have been awarded financial support from the EU-backed LEADER programmes covering Cumbria Fells and Dales, and also Solway, Border and Eden since 2014.

The funding is expected to create 200 new jobs and attract 150,000 additional day visitors to Cumbria, giving a £5.7m boost to the county’s economy.

The LEADER programmes have been delivered by Cumbria County Council. The two programmes are now closed to new applications as all funding has been awarded to projects.

Representatives of 23 businesses in Cumbria which received funding support, attended an event at Rheged, near Penrith, hosted by the county council to celebrate the success.

One of the projects supported through LEADER is Susan’s Farm, a working care farm near Carlisle providing opportunities for learning and practical work experience as well as alternative educational provision.

Funding was awarded to create a permanent Food and Farming Learning & Community centre to develop the established education and care farming activities, including a kitchen to allow visitors to prepare meals.

The centre also acts as a community hub for village events and works with a wide range of users from school children to teenagers and adults with challenging needs.

Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for economic development, said: “The LEADER programmes in Cumbria, which are funded by the European Union, have been an outstanding success story for the county’s economy."