In this Section
All the latest News from the Highland LEADER Programme.
15 June 2012
As of 26th April 2012 the Highland LEADER LAG has now committed all of its funds. We will obviously be keeping the programme spend under review and, as and when underspend becomes available we may look to run another round. This opportunity will be highlighted on the web site.
18 Apr 2011 - Update and Revisions to the Highland LEADER Programme
The Highland LEADER Programme is working well and has committed £10.3m of its total allocation (including Programme Administration), with £9.4m committed towards 261 projects. This represents some 62% of the total budget available and will, together with match funding secured to date, generate in total an investment of £22.2m in the Highland Programme area.
52 startegic projects have been approved. The balance of strategic funds to be committed is £4.098m, made up of £1.1m Convergence and £3m LEADER.
All local area partnerships are on target to achieve commitment by December 2011. 7 areas have committed levels between 76% and 100%, with the remaining 4 areas with commitment levels between 40% and 56%. The Local Area Parternships have approved 203 projects to date committing funding of £5.4m against the £6.9m devolved to the Local Area Partnerships. Total commitment across the local areas is running at 77.84% with a further £1.6m to be commited.
The average grans size is £36,082 with average grant intervention rates running at 44.83%.
2011/12 is a key year for the Highland LEADER Programme when the vast majority of the available funds need to be committed and when programme spend needs to increas significantly. Programme secretariat effort is focuses on delivering both of these objectives.
The following points highlight the key revisions to the programme.
- Any remaining area allocations will continue to be dealt with as LEADER funds and local area allocations remain in place until December 2011.
- Rates of up to 90% can be made available but this is up to the Local Area Partnership to determine.
- the programme will review its approach to reallocation of uncommitted local funds in Autumn 2011. Local Area Partnerships will be informed and included in the discussion.
Projects seeking strategic funds:
- New application timetable has been agreed for project seeking strategic funds. May 5th 2011, September 8th 2011, November 29th 2011. A final fourth round will be held on 27th March 2012.
- A new scoring system will be introduced for all projects seeking strategic funds, with a particular emphasis on: fit with local development plans, local need/support, capacity to deliver, project finances and sustainability.
Action 2 Projects - joint activity with other areas
- The programme agreed to retain the £350k allocation against Action 2 activity as it is a core part of the LEADER programme.
- Agreed the need to encourage transnational projects. Rates of up to 90% for international activity are now available with up to 75% for UK activity.
- Action 2 funds will be reallocated if uncommitted by end December 2011.
- up to 75% grant rate now available
- Applications for LEADER grant below 75% will receive higher score
- Rates of up to 50% remain. Every convergence pound must be matched by a public pound.
Scale of Award
- Presumption against projects seeking over £150k LEADER strategic grant
- LAPs with area allocation remaining to determine own upper level of grant
- Convergence - no higher limit set
- Early alert to Strategic LAG for any project seeking over £150k - be that LEADER or Convergence
- Opportunity now exists for Broadband applicants to secure match and submit applications for LEADER rounds of funding and compete along side other project applications. Rates of up to 75 are available.
LEADER Broadband Challenge Fund
On the 17th of December 2010 the Scottish Government informed the Highland LEADER Programme that its bid to the Scottish Government Broadband Challenge Fund had been unsuccessful. We are very disappointed with this outcome as the Highland LEADER LAG was confident that that our bid was a strong one. (see attached Scottish Government letter)
The Highland LEADER strategic LAG is meeting on the 17th of January 2011 to consider a number of LEADER projects and discuss how best the programme can target its activity in 2011. We will take this opportunity to discuss the implications of the Broadband announcement and how best the Highland LEADER programme with its partners may be able to support those applications that made up our bid.
All Highland LEADER Broadband applicants will be contracted directly.
We will update the Highland LEADER website ASAP after the meeting on the 17th January 2011.
Strategic LAG Meeting – rescheduled 17th January 2011.
Due to the adverse weather conditions the Highland Strategic LAG meeting, due to take place on the 7th of December 2010 has been postponed until 17th January 2011. Therefore, the following holding position has been put in place to deal with existing and new applications in the system.
1 The Community Services and Facilities Applications submitted for assessment on 7th December 2010 are now on hold until they are considered on 17th January 2011 (existing assessments stand)
2 Existing strategic projects submitted for assessment on the 7th of December 2010 are now on hold until they are considered on 17th January 2011 (existing assessments stand)
3 Area projects (where local allocation still exists) that have recently been approved will be processed and offer letters issued.
4 Area projects coming forward with a LAP recommendation for approval but seeking strategic LAG funds are on hold until after 17th January 2011. The LAG need to determine how much LEADER/Convergence money remains in order to determine these applications but existing intervention rates sought will be honoured if approved (see below regarding intervention rates).
5 New area/strategic projects:
(i) Those LAPS with area allocations remaining can continue to approve projects and rates up to 90% can still be offered (recently confirmed by the Scottish Government – see below). Most Area Partnerships are not likely to meet again until late February /March 2011.
(ii) Those LAPS whose area allocations are fully committed will not be able to consider new applications until the strategic LAG has met and confirmed the remaining LEADER/Convergence budget, process for applications (e.g. funding rounds rather than first come first served?), intervention rate.
(iii) New strategic projects will not be considered until after the strategic LAG has met and confirmed the remaining LEADER/Convergence budget, process for application (e.g. funding rounds rather than first come first served?), intervention rate.
As mentioned above, the Scottish Government has recently confirmed that the up to 90% intervention rate will now be in place to the end of the Programme for the LEADER funds. The decision to offer this or not for the remainder of the strategic LEADER funds will rest with the Strategic LAG and this shall be discussed on the 17th January.
Therefore 2011 strategic LEADER grant intervention rates will not be confirmed until after the meeting of the 17th January 2011. It is worth noting however that the HIGHLAND LEADER programme has seen an unprecedented increase in applications since the 90% rate was introduced and as such the Programme now needs, once all decisions are taken, to take stock, consolidate and then determine the best way forward with the remaining LEADER and Convergence funds. It is however unlikely that the 90% intervention rate for strategic projects will continue into 2011.
An update will be posted on the website following the meeting on the 17th of January 2011.
CHANGES TO THE HIGHLAND LEADER 2007-13 PROGRAMME
When the LEADER programme launched in 2008, allocations were made to each of the 11 local area partnerships, to be controlled locally and awarded by these groups in accordance with the priorities that were identified in their local LEADER plan. Each local group was aware that they would have until December 2011 to fully allocate their local budget and provided that at least 50% of this budget was spent by December 2011 they would be able to bid into the programme for further funds to continue until December 2013. Up until now, the maximum intervention rate that could be offered at was 45%.
The Highland LEADER programme funding is made up of two European funds – LEADER and Convergence. Although it was agreed at the beginning of the programme that these could be treated as one fund, recent confirmation has been received from the Scottish Government that this is no longer possible. As such the programme now has to be ‘de coupled’ i.e. operate 2 separate funding streams with different match funding requirements. In addition to this the Scottish Government would like all LEADER funds to be committed by March 2012 and spent by December 2013.
These changes will have a number of impacts on the programme and will require the following changes to be made to the Highland LEADER programme.
Changes to the Programme
· A revised financial strategy for the LEADER programme has been written – this strategy notes that the priority is to allocate LEADER funds before Convergence funds.
· Local area budgets will remain unchanged until December 2011, however the remaining funding within these budgets will be entirely made up of LEADER funding and not a mixture of Convergence and Leader as was the case previously.
· Grants will continue to be awarded from the local area budgets by local area partnerships in accordance with the local LEADER development plan.
· Until December 2010 and at the discretion of the strategic and Local Area Partnerships, grants of up to 90% can be offered.– there will still be a requirement for a minimum of 5% of the match funding to come from a private source. Rates of up to 50% will be offered thereafter unless the Scottish Government agree otherwise.
· The Highland LEADER programme will request an extension from the Scottish Government to offer grants at 90% for a 12 month period (in line with the 12 months of 90% funding that have been available in other LEADER areas across Scotland)
· The requirement for local area partnerships to spend 50% of the local budget before being able to bid in for more funds has now been removed – although spend across the programme remains an important issue and all local funds must still be allocated by December 2011 at the latest
· Once the local area partnership has allocated all its initial local budget, it is possible to approach the Highland Strategic LAG, on a project by project basis, to secure project funding from the remaining strategic pot of LEADER money (£1M,) that was originally set aside for strategic projects – this will be allocated on a first come first serve basis and decision making will involve the local area partnership although the details of how this will be carried out have yet to be defined.
· Once all the LEADER funding that is available within the programme has been allocated, the programme will continue to run using the remaining (£2.8M) convergence funds. Convergence funding will be offered on a £1 for £1 basis and match funding must be from public sources. A 5% contribution is still required for private/community applications. Decision making on these projects will still involve the local area partnerships although again the details of this still need to be clarified
Transfer of the Community Services and Facilities Measure and Collaborative Local Development Strategies to LEADER
· In addition to the above The Cabinet Secretary has approved the transfer of funding for community projects and development plans from SRDP Rural Priorities to LEADER through Local Action Groups (LAGs). Some £13.3 million across Scotland has been re-allocated to support this change.
· The Highland LEADER Programme has secured an indicative allocation of £2.33M. A copy of the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement and associated technical details are available under the FUNDING section of the Highland LEADER website.
· The Highland LEADER programme intends to ring fence this money for Community Services and Facilities and Collaborative Local Development Strategies in line with Scottish Government guidance (see technical note appended).
· Rates of up to 90% will be available until December 2010; thereafter rates will drop to 50% if all funds have not been committed.
· A second round will only be announced if this measure has not been fully committed by December 2010.
· To avail of the higher rates up until Christmas projects must be ready to go with all Match funding and permissions in place.
· Deadline for applications is 29th October 2010 for a decision in December 2010.
· All applications must be submitted on LEADER forms and meet LEADER eligibility criteria.
· Applicants must be able to bank roll their projects.
If you have any queries regarding the above please feel free to contact the Highland LEADER team or your local Development officer at:
Nicole Wallace - Programme Manager
The Highland Council, Planning and Development, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX
Tel – 01463 702 524 or 07899 968205
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Anderson - Programme Administrator
The Highland Council, Planning and Development, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX
Tel – 01463 702 548
Email - email@example.com
Fiona Cameron - Development Officer
(Caithness, Sutherland, Thurso, Wick, Cromarty Firth, Tain and Easter Ross)
The Highland Council, Drummuie, Golspie, KW10 6TA
Tel – 07827 281469 or 01408 635215
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Culbertson - Development Officer
(Aird, Loch Ness, Rural Inverness, Nairn, Caol, Mallaig, Fort William and Ardnamurchan)
Lochaber House, High Street, Fort William, PH33 6EL
Tel – 07827 281468 or 01397 707209
Email - email@example.com
Liz Whiteford - Development Officer
(Dingwall & Seaforth, Black Isle, Wester Ross, Strathpeffer, Lochalsh and Skye)
Invergordon Service Point, 62 High Street, Invergordon, IV18 0DH
Tel - 07920 543719
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair of Strategic Local Action Group:
The Highland Council, Planning and Development, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX
Tel - 01463 702260
Email - email@example.com
Tuesday 3 August 2010
Transfer of Community Services and Facilities Measure to LEADER
The Cabinet Secretary has approved the transfer of funding for community projects and development plans from SRDP Rural Priorities to LEADER through Local Action Groups (LAGs). Some £13.3 million has been re-allocated to support this change. The Highland LEADER Programme has secured an indicative allocation of £2.33M. A copy of the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement and associated technical details are available under the FUNDING section of the Highland LEADER website.
The Highland LEADER Programme is meeting with members of the Highland rPAC on the 23rd of August 2010 to discuss how best to manage this transfer. As such we will not be in a position to deal with applications until after this meeting. In the meantime Rural Direct will continue to offer information and support where required to groups who have applied under the Community Services and Facilities option after July 5th and whose applications will no longer be dealt with under Rural Priorities. To contact Rural Direct email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 838 8598.
This page will be updated as and when further information becomes available.
Monday 2 August 2010
Reminder for Broadband improvement funding
Community groups across the Highlands looking to improve their broadband services are reminded to get their applications submitted to stand a chance of receiving a share of a million Euro funding.
The closing date has been extended by one month so anyone wishing to submit a bid should ensure their completed application is with their local Highland LEADER representative by the new deadline of Wednesday 6 October.
After this date the applications will be sent to the Scottish Government for a decision to be made. Successful awards will provide funding for rural communities to develop faster broadband connections and wider coverage.
LEADER Development Manager Nicole Wallace said: “The Scottish Government made the announcement about this money at the start of July so communities have had a tight deadline to pull together their bids. Our team of Highland LEADER officers have been providing as much assistance as possible to help progress applications.
“After the closing date on 6 October we will assess all the applications to ensure they are in keeping with the LEADER principles and can demonstrate the positive impact improved Broadband would have on the communities. Between now and then if anyone needs advice I suggest they visit our website http://www,highlandleader.com/ or contact their local LEADER representative. We then pass the applications on to the Scottish Government who will make an announcement about the successful bids in October.”
NEWS UPDATE as of 5th July 2010
The Leader Broadband Challenge Fund
Rural Secretary Richard Lochhead formally launched the LEADER Broadband Challenge fund on the 1st July 2010.
Rural communities will be able to bid for a share of a million-Euro fund (£800,000) to bring enhanced broadband to their areas across all of Scotland. The new investment is to be delivered by the LEADER scheme which supports small-scale, community driven projects in rural areas and is aimed at improving coverage and bringing faster broadband rural communities.
Leader Local Action Groups have now been invited to collect local applications, assess them using their existing LEADER procedures, and submit those deemed suitable to a Rural Broadband Challenge Fund.
Bids will be considered by the Scottish Government in October so all applications from the Highlands should be completed and passed to The Highland LEADER Programme by 6th September 2010
Projects should be in keeping with the LEADER principles and applications made to LAG groups should have a positive rural development impact which they consider improved broadband access would bring.
Examples include: community groups wishing to upgrade exchanges, pilot projects into next generation broadband, supporting a business collective to access better broadband etc
Applications for financial assistance will be accepted from:
· Individuals (although the project must support LEADER principles and demonstrate wider rural development benefits)
· Constituted community groups
· Public organisations and agencies
· Partnerships, trusts and other non-governmental organisations
· Social enterprises
· Collaborative business/ community organisations (constituted groups).
There is no limit set for the value of project bids to Scottish Government or applications to LAGs. One million euros is to the total funding available in the Challenge Fund. No match funding is required ie 100% costs under Challenge Fund.
The Highland LEADER Lag will employ its existing application forms and assessment procedures to consider projects. Due to the summer holidays there is not much time for applications to be made so we urge any communities, groups etc wishing to put forward a bid to contact their local LEADER Officer who will be able to give them help and advice.
A summary of the application process is available under Funding Section.
The proposed increase of LEADER intervention rate to 90%
The Scottish Government confirmed their intention to increase the LEADER intervention rate to 90% for a trial one year commencing January 2010. The intervention rate will not be set at 90% but rates up to 90% can potentially be offered, at the discretion of the Local Action Group. However, in Highland the LEADER programme forms part of a merged LEADER/Convergence fund and as such grant rates will not be changed until such time as the Scottish Government confirm if the Programme can continue with or has to de-couple its LEADER/Convergence programme. Existing rates of 40-45% will continue to be offered until the above points are clarified. These rates do not apply to the LEADER Broadband scheme.
The transfer of Measures Code 321(Facilities and Services) and Code 341 (local development strategies) from SRDP Rural Priorities to Leader.
The Scottish Government has indicated that it intends to move the delivery of two options from Rural Priorities to LEADER.
- Collaborative Local Development Strategies and
- Community Services and Facilities
European approval is required for such a change. The last reported position was that European approval was granted for the delivery change for the Collaborative Local Development Strategy option but although approval would be sought from Europe to change the delivery mechanism of the Community Services and Facility option the necessary administrative arrangements required to obtain this approval were still in process.
Until such time as the above points are clarified the Highland LEADER programme will continue to operate as normal offering grant rates of between 40-45%. As soon as we have any further information we will highlight this on the Highland LEADER web site and amend our programme accordingly