In the past few days the LEADER programme has been launched by a number of Local Action Groups (LAGs). The LAGs broadly cover the same areas as the local councils and in our area the LEADER programme has been launched by:


  • Worcestershire (Wychavon, Malvern Hills etc) (£1.96m available)
  • Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury (£1.447m available)
  • Cotswold (£1.998m available)
  • Herefordshire (£1.7m available)


Scheme Details


Each LAG has broadly the same targets for funding and is able to offer grants of between £2,500 and £50,000 (dependant on LAG) based on 40% of the cost of the project being grant aided. Eligible claimants could be farmers, growers, foresters, local rural businesses and rural community organisations and are specifically targeted at “micro” enterprises (less than 10 full time employees).


The main project areas being targeted for funding are:


  • Support to increase farm productivity eg:
    • equipment and machinery to improve energy, water and input use efficiency eg. precision farming
    • equipment and machinery to reduce impact on soils eg. specialist drills
    • investments for slurry management
    • investments to modernise or mechanise production and increase productivity


  • Support to increase animal health and welfare eg:
    • technology to increase feed use
    • improvements to housing to improve welfare and energy efficiency
    • equipment and machinery to improve animal handling over and above standard


  • Support for new processing and marketing /development of agricultural projects


  • Support for Farm Diversification projects


  • Support for Rural Tourism eg:
    • Visitor attractions, infrastructure, events


  • Support for the provision of Rural Services eg:
    • Development of community buildings, public space etc


  • Support for cultural and heritage activity


Application Process


The application process for all LAGs requires the submission of an “Outline Application” which if successful will move onto a “Full Application”. The “Outline Application” requests information on the project proposals and how it will help the business going forward in terms of jobs created / safe guarded, turnover generated etc. It also requests a reasonable estimation of the likely costs of the project so that this can be considered against the benefits it will bring. If the project is invited to the “Full Application” stage then quotes will have to be sought, budgets produced and permissions (eg. planning gained) in order to go into the application to be assessed.




The LAGs run the scheme by “calling” for applications. These “calls” are application windows for specific types of projects under the Scheme and vary from LAG to LAG. At the moment the local “Calls” for Outline applications are:



Micro and Small enterprises including Farm Diversification  (30th November 2015 – 1st February 2016)

Tourism – developing local distinctiveness including Farm Diversification (30th November 2015 – 1st February 2016)

Farming, Forestry, Rural Services and Culture & Heritage will be launched in 2016


Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury:

All Eligible Project Types – Open to applications with no defined application window



All Eligible Project Types – Open to applications (Now – 4th January 2016). Further application windows open throughout 2016 and beyond



All Eligible Project Types – Open to applications with no defined application window

Further Assistance


Under the “farm productivity” and “animal health and welfare” headings we see a potential for funding for some of the popular items under the old Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) such as GPS systems, N sensors, LED lighting and handling systems. If you feel as though the LEADER programme could be of assistance to you please do not hesitate to call Mike Cluley to discuss your project proposals further and how they might fit within the scheme profile. We can then assist with the completion of the “Outline Application” and “Full Application” process to give you the best chance of getting grant funding.