LEADER paves the way in rural area
Economic and community development
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