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(c) Iain Sarjeant and supplied through Sutherland Partnership

Welcome to the new Highland LEADER Programme website

Welcome to the new Highland LEADER Programme website

Introduction

Highland LEADER funding outcome awaited

In common with other rural areas across Scotland, the Highland LEADER Programme is currently working to secure an allocation from the Scottish Government to deliver the Programme across the Highlands until 2020.

Across Scotland, the Scottish Government are still working on the guidance for the new Programme and the development of a new IT system. It is hoped that the Programme in Highland will open for expressions of interest in late Summer 2015, pending approval of the strategy and confirmation of the allocation.

Part of the process to secure funding was the need to produce a local development strategy setting out the priorities for funding and the eligible activities, including rural enterprise and farm diversification activities.

In the Highlands this strategy has been developed through a process of extensive community engagement held between June and September last year and it was submitted to the Scottish Government in October. Feedback received in December 2014 was on the whole very positive, however, a number of clarifications were required.

Yesterday (Wednesday 25th March) the revised version of the strategy was approved for resubmission to the Scottish Government and the Highland LEADER team are now awaiting the outcome.

Chair of the Highland LEADER Shadow Local Action Group (LAG), Frances Gunn said: “We know there are a lot of community groups and businesses out there waiting for the Programme to open for applications, and based on the previous Programme there will be a huge number of excellent projects waiting in the wings. We are working very hard to secure our allocation to enable us to get going; however, it is crucial that the guidance for the scheme is fully developed by the Scottish Government before we accept any applications so we can have confidence that the projects we approve are technically eligible.”

Update February 2015

The Highland LEADER Shadow Local Action Group (LAG) is currently working towards finalising a Local Development Strategy (LDS) for the new LEADER Programme 2014-2020 which will determine the kinds of projects which can be supported through this funding during the coming time period.

The Highland LEADER Programme is hoping to open for new projects during summer 2015.

LEADER supports community owned actions with investment from the European Union. It is part of the European Rural Development Programme which is a European investment programme for rural development in Scotland that links local action with European and Scottish Government priorities.

The aim of LEADER is to increase the capacity of local rural community and business networks to build knowledge and skills and encourage innovation and co-operation to tackle local development objectives.

The whole of Highland with the exception of Inverness city is eligible for LEADER funding.

The LDS themes and outcomes agreed will determine the investment priorities for the LAG in your area under the new programme funding.

SRDP Roadshow Update - February 2015

Highland LEADER 2014-2020

A Local Development Strategy was submitted to the Scottish Government in late 2014 and assessed by an external panel in November/December 2014. Initial feedback on the strategy has been positive; however, formal approval is pending a number of refinements/clarifications. As such, there is currently no approved strategy or structure in place for the Highland LEADER Programme 2014-2020 and no allocation has been made from the Scottish Government. The scale of the programme is therefore not known at this stage. Work is underway to provide the refinements that have been requested and to secure an allocation and further details on the Programme will be available following this.

It is hoped that the LEADER Programme will be open to applicants during Summer 2015. The 2014-2020 LEADER Programme will include a strand of funding for Rural Enterprise, of which there will be a requirement for a percentage to be allocated to farm diversification projects. There is a Scottish Government event in late March, which should provide further details of how this scheme will be delivered and priorities for funding. Once this information is available there will be further sector specific engagement to determine priorities for funding within Highland.

Update January 2015

The Highland Shadow Local Action Group (LAG) submitted the Highland Local Development Strategy to the Scottish Government in October 2015, setting out proposals for the operation of the Highland LEADER and EMFF Programmes from 2014-2020 and the agreed priorities for funding. The strategy was assessed by an external panel during November 2014 and feedback provided in December. In summary the strategy was positively received; however, a number of refinements and clarifications were requested. These will be discussed by the Shadow LAG at their meeting in January with a view to resubmitting the strategy to the Scottish Government as soon as possible. In addition there are a number of points that will require clarification nationally in order to finalise the strategy. Further updates will be given as available.

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