The New Forest LEADER Programme is re-opening to new Expressions of Interest
The New Forest LEADER Programme is re-opening to new Expressions of Interest –initially until 28 Feb 2019 or until remaining funding is allocated, whichever is sooner.
However there is now very limited grant budget still available, so businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
Please refer to the Applicant Handbook and the map opposite, to check that your business and project are eligible to apply. The Applicant Handbook also explains the application process.
For further information and an Expression of Interest form (the first stage in the application process) please contact the New Forest LEADER Office using the contact details shown on this website.
‘LEADER’ is a method of providing EU Rural Development Programme grant funding at the local level via a Local Action Group. It aims to address lagging economic performance, and the resultant social and environmental problems that this causes, in rural areas.
Businesses and not for profit groups can identify and develop projects to address these issues and apply for grant funding to support them.
Rural businesses and communities in the New Forest benefitted from LEADER funding during 2002-2008 and again during 2008-2013.
In 2014, as part of a competitive bidding process, a partnership of the New Forest Local Action Group (LAG) and New Forest District Council successfully bid for £1.43 million of funding from the EU’s Rural Development Programme for the period 2015-2020.
The New Forest LEADER Local Development Strategy formed part of this bid. This document set out the economic needs and aspirations for the rural areas of the New Forest and was agreed through extensive consultation with local businesses, not for profit organisations and partner agencies.
The UK Government’s focus for the next Rural Development Programme is on jobs and growth with the following sectors being priority areas for support through the LEADER programme:
- Priority 1: Support to increase farm productivity
- Priority 2: Support for micro and small businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification
- Priority 3: Support for rural tourism
- Priority 4: Support for the provision of rural services
- Priority 5: Support for cultural and heritage activity
- Priority 6: Support for increasing forestry productivity