Leader started its roll out at the end of 2015, and now it’s time to make the most out of the Government’s funding opportunities.
It has been a long time coming, but the Government’s Leader programme’s are gradually being rolled out across England.
Working through a series of local action groups (LAGs), Leader funding is available to farmers, foresters and land managers, as well as local businesses and communities as part of the Government’s Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).
The first Leader programme’s started their initial roll in November, with the remaining programmes accepting applications within the first few months of 2016.
Rural business adviser, Simon Haley said the programme aims to bring ’significant benefit to small businesses and communities in rural areas by making rural settlements more sustainable’.
He said: "During the previous LEADER programme under the period 2008-13, grants were provided to support projects such as farm shops, tea rooms, micro-breweries, dog kennels, and cheese-making facilities.
"If your project is creating jobs, developing rural business, or supporting the rural economy, these grants offer significant support of up to 40 per cent funding."
The Leader funding offers a unique opportunity that other schemes under the RDP do not provide.
Mr Haley continued: "There is a wider range of support, whether your project is aimed at rural tourism, forestry, micro-enterprise and diversification or simply enhancing the sustainability and productivity of your farm."
With 87 LAGs throughout England, there is plenty of opportunity to receive the funding needed to enhance your local community or diversify your farm.
Mr Haley added: "Do not delay in sending your applications. The majority of the 87 Local Action Groups have now launched their funding programmes and are inviting applications for their first call at Outline stage.
"Additional rounds will be opened throughout 2016 and in future years up to 2020, so there is plenty of time to scope a suitable project."
All successful LEADER projects have been added to FG Insight's Grant Checker.
Grant Checker is an online tool that allows you to look up and research agricultural grants, loans and scholarships available to you as a farmer.
You can access the Grant Checker via your desktop computer, tablet or a mobile device to search grants based on your location and age.
For more information about this, and other grants available to you, visit FG Insight's Grant Checker by clicking here.