LEADER funding available to boost rural employment and growth in Devon and Somerset

Rural businesses and organisations across Devon and Somerset are being encouraged to apply for European grants designed to boost rural employment.

The LEADER scheme is one element of the Rural Development Programme for England, funded by the EU and Defra. There is in the region of £12 million of funding available for projects that meet the eligibility criteria throughout most of rural Devon and Somerset.

Grants are available to support the local rural economy, and are particularly aimed at increasing farm productivity, developing micro and small enterprises and farm diversification, rural tourism, rural services, cultural and heritage activity and increasing forestry productivity.
The funding is being administered by eight Local Action Groups (LAGs), each covering a specific area and focused on the things that matter most to their local economies.

Funding is available directly to businesses and to organisations with innovative and collaborative ideas to improve their economy. Each project will be assessed and funding will be awarded go to those that make the greatest contribution to the local strategic objectives and offer best value for money by creating new jobs and helping the rural economy to grow.

The eight groups in the Heart of the SW area are: