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Rural Enterprise & Farm Diversification Update

Published: Friday, 10 November 2017

Rural Enterprise and Farm Diversification

Since it’s launch 110 Expressions of Interest have been received for LEADER Rural Enterprise and Farm Diversification funding. In response to a number of queries from applicants, this note sets out the high level application process and details of the decision making body – the Rural Enterprise Group.

Application Process

Expression of Interest: An Expression of Interest is required in all cases. This should be completed online: 

Rural Enterprise /Farm Diversification Questionnaire: Once an Expression of Interest has been received, applicants will be asked to complete a Questionnaire. This will help to identify any factors likely to affect the timing of applications and any expenditure that may not be eligible for LEADER funding. Where applicants already have a Business Plan with Cash-flow, a copy will be requested at this stage. 

Business Plan: Applicants without a Business Plan and Cash-flow will be directed to Business Gateway who will be able to provide support in developing these.

Full Application: Once a Business Plan and Cash-flow has been provided, match funding is in place and any necessary permissions have been obtained, applicants will be asked to submit a full application, together with all supporting documentation. Full applications and all supporting documentation will be required at least 8 weeks before the REG meeting at which a funding assessment is to be made.

Assessment & Funding Decisions

The Rural Enterprise Group (REG) has responsibility for assessing applications for funding and awarding LEADER grants.

Meetings: During 2018, the REG will meet Wednesday 31 January, 25 April, 25 July and 31 October.

The deadline for applications to be considered at the January 2018 meeting is 30 November 2017.

Please note that due to the volume of applications already in the pipeline, it is very unlikely that any new Expressions of Interest will lead to applications to be considered before the April 2018 meeting.

The REG will provide informal feedback, if required, once a Business Plan has been produced. This is often helpful in identifying any potential issues/concerns at an early stage before applicants have completed the full application paperwork. 

LEADER Development Officer

The LEADER Development Officer for Rural Enterprise and Farm Diversification projects is Judith Wainwright. Judith is based at The Highland Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX and can be contacted by e-mail ( or telephone (01463 702570 or 07557 480870).