More successful LEADER funding applications for rural Inverness

Highland LEADER funding continues to have a positive impact on Rural Inverness, as two more community development projects have been awarded a total of just over twenty six thousand pounds. 

LEADER is a European grants programme specifically designed to promote economic and community development in rural areas. Rural communities throughout the Highlands can apply for a share of just under £10 million which has been made available for local development projects to the end of 2013.  The Highland Council, on behalf of the Highland Community Planning Partnership, is the lead partner for the programme. 

Kilmorack Community Hall Ltd successfully applied for £14,927 for phase 1 of their project to build a new multi-purpose community facility for Kilmorack and surrounding communities in the Lower Strathglass area.

Amanda Bryan, one of Kilmorack Community Hall Ltd’s Directors said: “We were delighted to secure LEADER funding for the first phase of our project.   We had already secured £4,000 from the Ward 13 Discretionary Budget and the award from LEADER represents another major step forward for us. Phase 1 of our project aims to provide all necessary information regarding the design and costs of the new facility, together with the necessary permissions, in order that accurate funding applications can be made for the main build stage.  This LEADER grant will greatly improve the chances of securing future funding for our project, which the local community are very supportive of.”

Meanwhile, the recently established Ardersier Development Company Ltd (ARDCO) has been awarded £11,250.  The residents of Ardersier have formed a social enterprise to take ownership of their Old School Hall from The Highland Council.  It is intended to develop this, along with the War Memorial Hall, into a Community Hub to provide a range of local services.  Following community consultation, a range of suggested ideas for this have been made.  LEADER funding will be used to employ a consultant to carry out a feasibility study and produce a business plan to assess the viability of these ideas.  The project will also include consultation with architects to examine any necessary modifications to the buildings and examine potential funding sources for the development of the hub.

Sandy Devidge, a Director of ARDCO said: “We were extremely pleased with this award.  There is a real desire amongst the people of Ardersier for this project to happen and a real sense of momentum gathering behind it.  LEADER funding will ensure we have the necessary information and planning to take the project forward.” 

One of the key principles behind LEADER is to have decisions made on grant awards at as local a level as possible, to reflect the differing needs and priorities of communities throughout Highland.  To this end, the Highlands have been split up into 11 “local area partnerships”, each of which has its own LEADER local action group, responsible for making awards. 

William Gilfillan, Interim Chair of the Rural Inverness LEADER Local Action Group said: “2009 has seen the LEADER programme get off to a very positive start in Rural Inverness.  We have been very impressed with the quality of applications coming forward so far.  All of them have demonstrated strong support from local people and show real potential to make long term impacts in the communities concerned.  I would urge people to look at the assistance that the LEADER programme can offer and we look forward to supporting more local development projects in 2010.”

Full information about the LEADER programme and details on how to apply for funding can be found at  The minimum grant award is £1,000 and maximum grants are at the discretion of local LEADER groups.

LEADER is a European Union fund aimed at promoting economic and community development within rural areas.  The Highland Council, on behalf of the Highland Community Planning Partnership is the lead partner for the programme
Initially £7 million has been allocated to the eleven Local Area Partnership Groups for the first 3 years of operation with a further £3 million once the £7m is committed and spent.
The allocations have been based on area and population and are as follows:
• Caithness - £955,025
• Sutherland - £1,024,957
• Tain and Easter Ross - £303,580
• Cromarty Firth - £406,621
• Dingwall and Seaforth - £393,378
• Black Isle - £329,437
• Wester Ross, Strathpeffer & Lochalsh - £825,702
• Skye - £477,752
• Nairn - £388,941
• Rural Inverness - £785,309
• Lochaber - £1,036,725

21 Dec 2009