Rural retailers in North-East England are being encouraged to increase their services under a new grants scheme.

Business development group Yorkshire Forward is offering up to £10,000 to rural businesses to help them diversify and expand.

Run in conjunction with Business Link Yorkshire, the scheme will be piloted in the Whitby area and is aimed at businesses that are essential to the community.

Andy Tordoff, assistant director of environment at Yorkshire Forward, said: “Yorkshire Forward aims to support the development of rural businesses and encourage them to diversify to meet the needs of their customers and the local community.”

The grant itself can be used for internal or external improvements or equipment and the package will offer the services of a business advisor specialising in rural issues.