The Lindsey Action Zone Local Action Group (LAG) has been successful in securing £2.58 million from the new Rural Development Programme for England LEADER funding programme. Over the next 5 years the LAG, supported by Lincolnshire County Council, will distribute grants to local businesses, farmers and community organisations in support of activities that generate jobs and growth in the rural economy.
What is LEADER funding?
LEADER is one of the delivery methods being used to distribute funds from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). Its name is derived from a French acronym which roughly translates as ‘Liaison among Actors in Rural Economic Development’.
Through LEADER, local people with relevant experience and local knowledge have delegated responsibility for deciding which projects they will fund in their areas.
What types of projects can LEADER fund?
There are six national priorities for LEADER. Five of these have been adopted by the Wash Fens.
- Increase farm productivity
- Support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
- Boost rural tourism
- Provide rural services
- Provide cultural and heritage activities (where this promotes growth in the tourism economy)
- Increase forestry productivity
Funding applications must contribute to one or more of the above priorities.
All LEADER funded activities must also make a contribution to growing the rural economy, such as creating new jobs, growing businesses, improving productivity and efficiency, increasing tourism visitors or providing new rural services.
What area does the Lindsey Action Zone LAG cover?
The Lindsey Action Zone area (Click for Map) covers the inland part of East Lindsey and all of West Lindsey including the Lincolnshire Wolds, the Vales of West Lindsey, the market towns of Spilsby, Horncastle, Market Rasen, Louth, Caistor and Woodhall Spa, Tattershall & Coningsby and West to Gainsborough.
LEADER is only available in rural areas. However the LAG area extends right up to the urban fringe of Lincoln.
What is a Local Action Group (LAG)?
The LAG is the group responsible for implementing LEADER in an agreed rural area. It brings together individuals and organisations from the local public, private and community sectors (Membership List). To become an approved LAG, groups must first develop a Local Development Strategy that sets out how they will invest RDPE funding to deliver jobs and growth in their area.
The LAG is supported by a small team of paid staff employed by Lincolnshire County Council who act as Accountable Body for the LEADER programme in Lincolnshire. The Accountable Body is responsible for delivering the programme on behalf of the LAG. It undertakes to ensure that financial propriety and compliance with EU regulations is observed.
What is a Local Development Strategy (LDS)?
The LDS sets out the strategic direction and priorities that the LAG will focus on how to improve their rural economy. The strategy will be reviewed and developed by the LAG over the lifetime of the Programme.
The Lindsey Action Zone Local Development Strategy identifies three key funding priorities that the LAG will focus on to maximise growth. To be successful, funding applications must contribute to one or more of these priorities:
Priority 1: Improve business efficiency and growth
We aim to support the growth of traditional and niche businesses in and around our small market towns and rural hubs, to improve their productivity, create diverse employment opportunities, improve local supply chains and to support farms to be more resource and carbon efficient.
Priority 2: Improve the rural visitor economy
We can support our tourism businesses to make the LAZ a more welcoming and attractive place to live, work, invest and visit by supporting a drive for high quality attractions and accommodation which are better connected and well-marketed.
Priority 3: Realise the potential of environment, heritage &community assets
We aim to sensitively enhance the key environmental and heritage strengths of the LAZ and to support our communities to emphasise our rural area as attractive and welcoming, well-known for its local character and special features and to develop the area by increasing a wider understanding of its distinctive assets.
How long will the LEADER programme run?
The programme is planned to run for 5 years, or until all funding has been allocated. All project funded expenditure will need to be completed by 30thOctober 2020.