The LEADER scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is partly funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

The aim of LEADER is to create jobs and help businesses grow, which will then benefit the rural economy. LEADER is a French acronym, which roughly translates as ‘Liaison among Actors in Rural Economic Development’. It is a grant funding programme  that aims to provide funding for businesses and organisations looking to begin or expand their operations in rural areas.

Grants, mainly for smaller projects, will cover six key priorities:

  • Micro/small enterprises and farm diversification
  • Increasing farm productivity
  • Support for rural tourism
  • Provision of rural services
  • Support for cultural/heritage activity
  • Increasing forestry productivity

Grant rates vary depending on the organisation applying for the grant and the LEADER priority under which the project sits, but the typical grant amount available is 40% of the total eligible project costs, with the rest of the money coming from other private sources – it cannot come from other public sources. The LEADER programme has a minimum grant amount of at least £6,000.

How does it work?

  1. Email ruralfunding@lancashire.gov.uk to check that your postcode is located within an eligible rural area and your project fits within one of the six LEADER funding priorities.
  2. Eligible businesses will be invited to complete an outline application form – with support from an LCC programme manager.
  3. Approved projects will then be invited to submit a full application – with support from an LCC programme manager.
  4. If the full application is eligible, it will be presented to the Local Action Group (LAG)  who will make a decision on the project within 40 working days of the closing date of your submission.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of the Lancashire LEADER programme, please do not hesitate to e-mail ruralfunding@lancashire.gov.uk or call Karen Lawrenson on 01772 538797 or Louise Kite on 01772 534134.

Additional information:

LEADER fact sheet (opens in new window)

LEADER case studies (opens in new window)

Working with and supported by:

  • ERDF - logo