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          ***********LEADER Funding Programme is now CLOSED**********


Rural Development Programme LEADER Funding

The Funding Programme


Leader is a delivery mechanism under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDP), which runs on a multi-year basis; project funding will be available in the period 2015-20.  LEADER funding is accessed through Local Action Groups’ (LAGs), which are area-based, with populations up to 150,000. There will be 80 LEADER groups within England covering approximately 85% of the rural population in England. This is an increase upon the previous programme of 64 groups & an increase of 29% of the rural population that is covered.

Who will LEADER fund?

LEADER will fund farmers, foresters, rural businesses and rural communities to -

  • Create jobs
  • Develop rural business
  • Support the rural economy

70% of all projects must directly support the rural economy whilst 30% of projects will also need to demonstrate that they are contributing to improving the local rural economy. The amount of funding depends on –

  •  Type of project
  •  Size of business
  •  The costs involved ( not all costs of the project may qualify for funding)

What will LEADER Fund?

Projects must meet Local Development Strategy (LDS) priorities & at least one of national 6 priorities for support as outlined below –

  • Support for micro and small enterprises and farm diversification
  • Support for increasing farm productivity
  • Support for rural tourism
  • Support for increasing forestry productivity
  • Provision of rural services
  • Support for cultural & heritage activity

Application Process

Are you in the LAG area? – see the LEADER documents & downloads page to find maps, forms and other downloads about LEADER in Essex. There are currently 4 Local Action groups which will cover Essex –


Essex Rivers – a new LAG covering parts of Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Colchester, Maldon & Rochford


Wool Towns – a new LAG covering parts of Braintree and Colchester




Heritage Coast – a new LAG covering Tending



Eastern Plateau – an existing/expanding LAG covering parts of Uttlesford & Epping Forest.



If you are a farmer, producer, forester, rural business or rural community & either a private, public or voluntary organisation, contact your local LAG to discuss your plans.


More Information


Essex Rivers - If you are located in the Essex Rivers LAG area see the website –


Initially contact Beverly Davies, Programme Manager to discuss your project Tel 01376 574330 or 07494 509730


Alternatively contact Neil Harper, Programme Officer Tel 01376 574330