The next closing date to submit Expressions of Interest, for assessment in June, is on or before Tuesday 15 May 2018.
Click Here for a quick guide to the application process.
Please Note: As a result of the outcome of the EU Referendum, we have been advised by Defra that the National LEADER programme will be closing in December 2019 rather than December 2020 as originally planned. This means that the final date for submitting Expressions of Interest is 19 June 2018 with successful applicants being able to complete their projects and claim grant monies by 30 November 2019 (if your project may take longer than this – please contact the LEADER office to discuss before submitting an Expression of Interest).
‘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