December 2015 

Lancashire's 'LEADER' rural funding programme is now open for business

Lancashire County Council is delighted to announce that the Lancashire LEADER programme is now officially open for business. The LEADER scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is part 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'.

In February this year each of the three Local Action Groups (LAGs) nominated an Executive Group, made up of up of 16-18 individuals / organisations from the public, private and voluntary / community sectors.  The LAG Executive will act as the decision making body for all applications.  All LAG Executive Group members have undertaken a rigorous training programme to enable them to make informed decisions regarding each application.

Types of funding available

The first round of funding is aimed at Enterprises and Farming businesses and the focus is very much on job creation and growth of the business.  Full details of the eligibility criteria can be found on our Rural Development Fund website in the relevant applicant handbook, which is also available from your Project Manager. 

The Enterprise fund provides support for micro and small businesses (less than 49 full-time equivalent employees and non-agricultural) and farm diversification.  The grants are for both new and existing businesses and all types of businesses, including social enterprises can apply.

Find out more about 
funding for Enterprises including what types of projects can be funded.


These grants will support a wide range of farm investments. They are particularly for businesses that want to invest in innovative business practices and new technologies to help them become more sustainable and productive.

Find out more about 
funding for Farming including what types of projects can be funded.

Application process

The application process is competitive and therefore there are no guarantees that an application for funding will be successful.  Applications will be appraised and assessed against a broad range of criteria but the primary focus will be the creation of jobs, how the business will grow and the impact upon the local rural community.


The first applications will be considered at the end of April 2016, which means that no project will be able to start until mid-May following receipt of an offer letter. 

In order for your application to be considered at this meeting an outline application needs to be submitted by 31 January 2016

Other funding priorities

We expect to launch the tourism funding some time in Spring / Summer 2016.  We need to await the publication of the Destination Management Plan from Marketing Lancashire, which we hope will provide us with more detailed information regarding the current accommodation / attraction stock in Lancashire.

At the moment we cannot tell you what type of projects we are looking to fund but if you have a tourism project in mind, whatever it might be, it would be most helpful if you could complete an initial register of interest form.  

Cultural and Heritage
We have not previously funded projects via the Culture and Heritage theme.  Projects could include the construction and restoration of sites and buildings.  If you have a potential project idea please complete an initial register of interest form.
Basic Services
In the previous programme we funded a range of projects via this particular theme including village hall developments, play areas, financial outreach work and the training of volunteers to provide essential rural services.

Funding for Basic Services in the 2015-2020 programme is quite limited. The LAG Executive group need to decide what type of projects they want to fund.  If you have a community project in mind, please complete an initial register of interest form as this will inform us what types of funding communities are looking for.

Forestry businesses may be able to apply for funding via the Enterprise theme.  Each LAG has a very small allocation of funding for specific forestry projects.  Decisions regarding the call for projects have yet to be made.  If you have a forestry project idea please complete the initial register of interest form.

Annual Local Action Group Meeting

The annual meeting for the three Lancashire LAGs will take place from 12-2pm on Wednesday 16th March 2016.  The event is open to anyone who lives, works or has an interest in the rural areas of Lancashire.
The aim of the meeting is to provide an update on the progress of LEADER so far, as well as providing information regarding future activity.
Lunch and refreshments will be provided and you will have an opportunity to network with other members of the LAG.
The event will be held at the NFU offices in Skelmersdale.  Please note that places are limited.  If you would like to reserve a place please book here.

Other sources of funding

Visit our website to keep up to date with other sources of funding.

Vacancy - North LAG

Are you interested in becoming a LAG Executive Member?  You should live or work in a rural area, have interest in the rural economy and want to play a key role in the delivery of the Local Development Strategy.  The vacancy is for a community / third sector representative on the North LAG.  You will be required to attend approximately 4 meetings a year where you will consider applications for funding. 

Please contact Louise Kite if you are interested at

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