Rugby gets £14,000 for food and real ale festival

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Rugby First has been awarded a £14,000 grant to host a food and beer festival in the town centre this year.

Rugby was just one of the towns across Warwickshire to secure funding for a variety of projects aimed at getting more people back into the high street.

Warwickshire County Council’s Operation Footfall scheme was launched in February as a part of its Going for Growth initiative, and is aimed at town centre business groups to lead on and develop projects which encourage more people to shop and eat in the county’s town centres.

A total of 23 applications were received and on Monday 13 of those were awarded grants of between £5,000 and £30,000.

Rugby First was awarded £14,000 for the Rugby Food and Drink Festival with real ale trail.

Although it is still in the planning stages, it is thought it will be held in September

Aftab Gaffar, managing director at Rugby First, said: “We want to do something a little different. We have a lot of lovely restaurants and pubs in the town centre that have a fantastic range of real ale. We want to get all the pubs and restaurants together and make a weekend festival of it.”

Other successful projects given funding is an autumn food festival in Alcester, a 3D light spectacular in Stratford-upon-Avon, a sculpture trail in Nuneaton, a pop-up visitor shop in Atherstone, a food and film festival in Warwick and an ‘independents day’ shopping event in Leamington.

Leader of Warwickshire County Council Cllr Alan Farnell said: “Operation Footfall is our crusade to boost the local economy through local businesses.

“I am delighted to announce these funding awards. We have been particularly pleased at the response of the business groups in developing ways to support town centres.

“As well as supporting many thousands of jobs, town centres are also important hubs for our communities and we will do what we can to support their continued viability.”

Operation Footfall, a key part of the county council’s Going for Growth agenda, is open to business community groups – large and small - to apply for grants to deliver a diverse range initiatives to encourage footfall.

Groups can continue to bid for some of the £400,000 pot, with the next deadline on the May 1. More information can be found at or follow the news on Twitter @OpFootfall.