LEADER was a community-led scheme that provided funding for projects in England that created jobs, helped businesses and rural communities to grow, and developed the rural economy.
The most recent LEADER programme delivered by Norfolk County Council ran from 2014 to 2020. The grant programme covered Norfolk and north Suffolk, over five Local Action Group areas:
- West Norfolk
- Wensum and Coast
- Waveney Valley
- The Brecks
- The Broads
Applications were facilitated and appraised by a team at Norfolk County Council, with final decisions on grant awards made by the five Local Action Groups, consisting of local volunteers.
LEADER covered six priorities:
- Support to increase farm productivity
- Support for micro and small businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification
- Support for rural tourism
- Provision for rural services
- Support for cultural and heritage activity
- Support for increasing forestry productivity
Over the course of this LEADER programme, almost 200 projects were contracted and more than £9million of grant awarded. The programme has now closed to new applications and a new LEADER programme will not be running due to the UK’s exit from the European Union.
It is hoped that the Shared Prosperity Fund being developed by Government will help fill the void left by the LEADER Programme.