Posted: 15th December 2015

LEADER is a funding programme which it is worth having a look at as it is specifically designed for small rural businesses which are looking to develop and grow. It is called LEADER and, although the money comes from the EU, it is administered by local groups – called LAGS.

Unlike most grant programmes, LEADER will give the scale of grants which we feel are appropriate to WiRE members (i.e. in the thousands rather than millions).

Not all areas are covered by the programme but if you plan to develop your business in the next couple of years it is worth checking whether you are in the right place to apply. Have a look at the LEADER LINK as all the information is there. You will need to go from this national page to your local group (LAG), as that is where you will find all the information about the local programme – including application forms and contacts for help.

We are listing all calls for projects as they appear – please scroll down for information about LEADER in your area

Staffordshire – 2.24m now available to boost local businesses

A new scheme, aimed at boosting the rural economy across Staffordshire has officially been launched.

The Staffordshire LEADER Local Action Group have secured £2.249 million of European funding through the LEADER Programme (2015-2020). LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can demonstrate a benefit to the local rural economy. To be successful, applications must contribute to the creation of jobs or the development of businesses in the Staffordshire LEADER rural area.

The Chair of the Staffordshire Local Action Group, Polly Gibb, OBE, who is also the director of WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) said :

“We are absolutely delighted to have secured funding for rural businesses operating across Staffordshire and are confident that it will contribute towards a stronger and more sustainable rural economy. This programme is specifically targeted at smaller businesses and most of rural Staffordshire is covered. I would encourage anyone who might want to apply to either contact us or have a look at the LEADER programme website”.

The first call for applications for funding, which opened on the 16 November 2015, is for projects from the farming, foresting, tourism and micro/small businesses sectors and also for schemes that support rural services and culture and heritage. The deadline for outline applications in this first round is the              29th December 2015. Further call for bids through the programme will be invited from next year.

To discuss a potential project idea or to receive an outline application form, contact the LEADER Programme Team at Staffordshire County Council on 01785 854306 or email cmb.leader@staffordshire.gov.uk

Further details about the Staffordshire LEADER programme can be found at www.staffsleader.org.uk


Contact Hollie Kirk HKirk@worcestershire.gov.uk]

Worcestershire first call for Outline applications will be open on Monday 30th November 2015. The closing date will be 5pm on Monday 1st February 2016.

The application process will be a two stage process, if your Outline application is successful you will be asked to submit a Full Application, which you will be given two months to submit.

Summary of the dates are below for the application process;

First Call for Outline Applications (2 months) 30th November 2015
End of Call for Outline 1st February 2016
Decision on Outline (+10 days) 15th February 2016
Invite to first Full Application 15th February 2016
End of Full Application Period (2 months) 15th April 2016
First LAG Decision Making Panel  2nd June 2016
Decision Period of Full Application Period (maximum 40 days) By 14th June 2016

As part of the LEADER approach the programme team at Worcestershire County Council will be on hand to offer guidance on the application process.

A reminder of the first call for applications will be for small, capital grants for the following areas;

  • Micro and Small Enterprise inc Farm Diversification
  • Tourism – developing local distinctiveness inc Farm Diversification

Further calls for Farming, Forestry, Rural Services and Culture & Heritage, will be launched in 2016.

Please email Hollie to request an Outline Application form, and for more information.

Lincolnshire – LEADER Grant Funds now OPEN

We are pleased to announce that Outline Applications are now being accepted for the four LEADER Funding Programmes in Lincolnshire.

Grants can be accessed by businesses, farmers, foresters and those involved in tourism, heritage and community initiatives.

All LEADER funded activities must make a contribution to growing the rural economy, such as creating new jobs, growing businesses, improving productivity and efficiency, increasing tourism and heritage visitors or providing new services.

How to Apply

Applicants will need to fill out 2 application forms to apply for a LEADER grant:

  • An Outline Application; then, if successful,
  • A Full Application
  1. First check if your project is located in a LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) Area (See map – a more detailed local area map can also be found on each LAG’s website)
  2. Download an Applicant Handbook and Outline Application from the appropriate LAG’s Website

Coastal Action Zone LAG covering the coastal area of East Lincolnshire (north of Boston Borough)

Lindsey Action Zone LAG covering the Wolds countryside and market towns and West Lindsey

Wash Fens LAG covering South East Lincolnshire

Kestevens Local Action Group covering West Lincolnshire (South of Lincoln)

  1. Return the completed Outline Application Form to the LAG by Email (Contact details can be found on the front cover of the Handbook)

It is important that you read the Handbook before submitting an Outline Application.  It will help you to determine if your project is eligible for funding and also provides essential information about LEADER and the funding application process.

If you are at all uncertain about whether LEADER funding is right for you or would prefer to chat through your idea with us first, please email your contact details, outlining your query, and a member of the team will call you back.  LincsLEADER@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Submission Deadlines

We are aware that a number of potential applicants have been eagerly awaiting the launch of LEADER funding and have projects in mind that they wish to begin as soon as possible.

To accommodate this, we will endeavour to review all Outline Applications received by 14th December 2015 before Christmas. Applicants will be notified of the outcome by Email.

Outline Applications received between 15th December 2015 and 31st January 2016 will be reviewed no later than 12 February 2016 and on a bi-monthly basis thereafter.

However, please submit your application as soon as it is ready as we will endeavour to get back to you sooner if time allows.

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.




Funds are available in Cornwall under the LEADER scheme for micro and small business, business start-ups and farm diversification initiatives. Businesses are eligible to apply for projects which will create jobs, increase productivity or grow the business.   Support is available for items such as the establishment of premises and purchasing equipment. Not for profit organisations are also eligible to apply. Long term salaries and running costs are not eligible.

Grants will be awarded between £2,500 and £35,000 and up to 50% of project costs for businesses and potentially up to 100% for non-profit making operations. All projects must deliver benefits to the local economy. Awards will be made by one of four Local Action Groups across Cornwall. Not all applications will be successful and will be assessed against eligibility criteria and fit with the Local Action Group Local Development Strategy.

In the first instance please visit www.localactioncornwall and read the Applicant Handbook for your relevant Local Action Group area. The contact details for the area LEADER Project Co-ordinators are provided on this website.

Please note that Camborne, Pool, Redruth, Falmouth, Penryn and Saltash are not covered by LEADER.