Welcome to the new Highland LEADER Programme website

Update - August 2015

Scottish Rural Network

Information regarding the LEADER 2014-20 Programme across Scotland is available at the new Scottish Rural Network website www.ruralnetwork.scot/

The website provides contact details and links to the 21 LEADER Programmes across Scotland. The Scottish Rural Network supports and promotes rural development through the sharing of information, ideas and good practice. Project Case Studies will be available on the website throughout the 2014-2020 Programme along with opportunities for co-operation projects between organisations or groups in different areas in Scotland, the UK, Europe or further afield.

The website hosts an Expression of Interest (EOI) form. Submission of an EOI is the first formal step in applying for LEADER funding.

The Highland LEADER 2014-2020 Programme is expected to launch in late Autumn 2015 and is awaiting approval from Scottish Government to open for Expressions of Interest.

EOI’s completed in the interim for projects in Highland will be acknowledged by the Scottish Rural Network.

Expressions of interest will be assessed for: meeting eligibility criteria; fit with Strategic Local Action Group/Local Area Partnership(s) priorities in delivery of the Local Development Strategy/Local Area Action Plan(s); suitability for LEADER funding; and level of funding requested.

Seven steering groups across the Highlands are in the process of developing Local Area Action Plans outlining local priorities for the new LEADER Programme. Once the Local Area Action Plans have been finalised and approved, these will be made available publicly and the LEADER Team will be able to provide guidance with regards to whether a project will be eligible for consideration.

Local Area Partnerships

The Highland LEADER Programme is structured around a Strategic Local Action Group (LAG) which oversees activities across Highland and 7 Local Area Partnerships. The Programme will be delivered at a local level through the Local Area Partnerships: Caithness; Sutherland; Skye; Wester Ross, Strathpeffer & Lochalsh; Lochaber; Inner Moray Firth North; and Inner Moray Firth South.

Steering groups have been set up in each Local Area Partnership area comprising of individuals interested in community development, and those representing community groups and/or key business sectors. The Steering Groups have begun the process of developing Local Area Action Plans by determining local priorities.

Once Local Area Actions Plans have been drafted, these will be presented to the Strategic LAG responsible for the overall management and delivery of the Highland LEADER Programme. Local Area Action Plans will be reviewed to ensure they will support the delivery of the Local Development Strategy for Highland. The Strategy, which was developed through a process of extensive community engagement, was submitted to the Scottish Government as part of the LAG’s bid to secure EU funds.

Steering Groups will also consider the skills, knowledge and experience required on each Local Area Partnership to deliver the LEADER Programme. Nominations will be sought from individuals interested in facilitating the delivery of the LEADER Programme.

Highland LEADER Programme Timetable

Please be aware this is a draft timetable which may be subject to change.

Highland LEADER Programme Open for Expressions of Interest

October 2015

Local Area Action Plans approved and made publicly available

November 2015

Budget allocations approved for Local Area Partnerships

November 2015

Highland Local Development Strategy Live and publicly available

November 2015

Launch of Highland LEADER 2014-2020 Programme

December 2015

Further information

Further updates on the development of the 2014-2020 Programme will be posted in due course. An email update will be circulated to those on our mailing distribution once the Programme is launched. Please contact the LEADER Team at mailto:EU.Leader@Highland.gov.uk if you would like to be added to our distribution list.

Update - March 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.