LEADER paves the way in ru­ral area

Eco­nomic and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Kaiya Mar­jorib­anks

A scheme which pro­motes eco­nomic and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment has been a big suc­cess in ru­ral Stir­ling.

LEADER is a pro­gramme of Euro­pean fund­ing which pro­motes eco­nomic and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment in ru­ral ar­eas, by award­ing grants to a wide range of pilot or in­no­va­tive com­mu­nity projects, or by com­mis­sion­ing spe­cific pieces of work.

Ru­ral Stir­ling is in­cluded within the Forth Val­ley and Lomond LEADER pro­gramme, a pro­ject gov­erned by a Lo­cal Ac­tion Group (LAG) made up 19 com­mu­nity, busi­ness and agency mem­bers. In ad­di­tion to be­ing a mem­ber of the Lo­cal Ac­tion Group, Stir­ling Coun­cil has also taken on the role of the Ac­count­able Body for the LEADER Pro­gramme.

At a re­cent meet­ing of the coun­cil’s fi­nance and econ­omy com­mit­tee, mem­bers heard that since the pro­ject for­mally launched in Jan­uary 2016, the LAG have awarded £540,238 fund­ing to 15 ru­ral projects – 14 of which have been in ru­ral Stir­ling – and to date 68 ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est have been sub­mit­ted.

While it is too early to see the eco­nomic ben­e­fit cre­ated by the LEADER projects al­ready ap­proved, as many of th­ese have not yet started and oth­ers will cre­ate longer term ben­e­fit, th­ese will in­clude job cre­ation, in­creases in vis­i­tor num­bers, ex­ten­sion of the tourism sea­son, new tourism at­trac­tions, an ac­tion plan for the food and drink sec­tor, broad­band projects sup­ported, ac­cess routes opened up and cap­i­tal projects de­vel­oped.

Anne-Michelle Ket­teridge, pro­gramme man­ager for Forth Val­ley and Lomond LEADER, said: “This has been a busy first year for the Pro­gramme, and it’s been good work­ing with such a wide va­ri­ety of groups and projects. It’s been par­tic­u­larly pleas­ing to have had such in­ter­est from farms who are di­ver­si­fy­ing and ru­ral busi­nesses who are de­vel­op­ing their busi­nesses in such in­no­va­tive ways.

“Fund­ing is still avail­able for other projects, whether you are a busi­ness, a farm or a com­mu­nity group and any­one in­ter­ested should look at our web­site www.fvl. org.uk for el­i­gi­bil­ity de­tails. We’re par­tic­u­larly keen to at­tract co­op­er­a­tion projects with more than one ap­pli­cant work­ing to­gether.”

Stir­ling Coun­cil’s Fi­nance and Econ­omy Con­venor Neil Benny said: “The types of ru­ral pro­ject that LEADER brings for­ward are su­perb, they are tes­ta­ment to the en­tre­pre­neur­ial and in­no­va­tive way that our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses ap­proach things.

“They have cre­ated jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties around Stir­ling District. Work­ing to­gether we have achieved a great deal and I be­lieve strongly that the fu­ture will see a great deal of good de­vel­op­ments through this fund­ing chan­nel.”

For de­tails on how to ap­ply to Forth Val­ley and Lomond LEADER go to www.fvl.org.uk

Flash­back Pic­tured at the launch of the LEADER pro­gramme in Forth Val­ley are (from left), Stu­art Oliver and Carol Beattie, both of Stir­ling Coun­cil, Anne-Michelle Ket­teridge, Coun­cil­lor Benny, and Peter Suther­land, LEADER chair­man

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.