The LEADER programme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
A total of £138 million has been available in the England between 2015 and 2020 under the scheme. LEADER is a French acronym (Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale) which roughly translates as ‘Liaison among Actors in Rural Economic Development’.
Under LEADER, Local Action Groups (LAGs) made up of local businesspeople, council and other public body representatives can allocate grants to rural businesses, groups or organisations to help them carry out projects which create jobs, help businesses to grow and benefit the rural economy.
Each LAG decides which projects they will fund in their area. This depends on their priorities but all projects must support one or more of the 6 LEADER priorities. These are to:
• support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
• boost rural tourism
• increase farm productivity
• increase forestry productivity
• provide rural services
• provide cultural and heritage activities
LEADER funding can support farmers, growers, foresters and other local rural businesses and community organisations to help create jobs, develop rural business and support the rural economy.
FSB members are involved in LEADER Local Action Groups across the East Midlands to ensure that local SMEs are supported and informed of the funding available. There may be an opportunity to be involved in your local action group, so contact your local LEADER group to enquire if you are interested in supporting local SMEs to access the funding available through the following links:
East Midlands LEADER areas
Bolsover North East Derbyshire
Coastal Action Zone
Lindsey Action Zone
North and West Northamptonshire
North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth