What is the LEADER programme?

You can apply to your Local Action Group (LAG) for funding for projects that create jobs, help your business to grow and benefit the rural economy under the LEADER scheme. LEADER funding is delivered via LEADER LAGs and is available to local businesses, communities, farmers, foresters and land managers.  The programme follows the processes of the Rural Payments Agency.

A total of £138 million is available in England between 2015 and 2020 under the scheme. LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England. It is a French acronym (Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale) which roughly translates as ‘Liaison among Actors in Rural Economic Development’.

How much money can I apply for?

The amount of grant funding is determined by the Priority within which the project fits.  The grant range is £2,500 – £50,000 and this forms 40% to 100% of the total project costs.

Will the grant awarded pay for my project costs immediately?

No. You must be able to afford to pay for your project in advance of claiming any grant. This is called ‘bank rolling’.  We only pay the grant against agreed claims. You need to provide the original invoices, copies of cheques, bank payments, bank statement, receipts and evidence that you own the items.

Can I apply for items that I have already purchased or need to purchase before I apply?

We do not fund anything that you have already purchased or you intend to purchase prior to our issuing a contract. You may be advised to describe any investment that you have already made in your business or project plan. This helps the panel to consider the wider project investment and plan.

 How long does the application process take?

The process can take between 3 to 6 months depending on the nature of the project and the number of applications being processed.

Do I need planning permission in place before I apply?

You do not need permissions in place before you apply, but it is advantageous to at least have begun the planning process. For your project proposal to progress at Full Application stage it is recommended for your permissions to have been granted before submitting your final forms.

 How long do I have to apply?

You can apply at any time by following the process on our LEADER funding page. The panel meets every four to six weeks to consider proposals.  However, this is a time limited fund and projects will be appraised in order of receipt.

 Can someone help me with the forms?

You will be allocated a project sponsor at Full Application stage to support you as required.  We provide regular Applicant Workshops where you can learn more about the Fieldfare LEADER programme, what we fund, how to apply and what we will need to know about your project.  You will be required to attend one of these workshops before submitting your Full Application.  You can find out further details about the next event from our website.

Do I need to complete all sections of the forms?

Yes. Please complete all sections of the forms, reading all of the guidance and accompanying documents carefully.  At Full Application stage you should use the checklists to ensure all supporting information is provided and that the application form is signed in the hard copy.