Highland LEADER funding outcome awaited
In common with other rural areas across Scotland, the Highland LEADER Programme is currently working to secure an allocation from the Scottish Government to deliver the Programme across the Highlands until 2020.
Across Scotland, the Scottish Government are still working on the guidance for the new Programme and the development of a new IT system. It is hoped that the Programme in Highland will open for expressions of interest in late summer 2015, pending approval of the strategy and confirmation of the allocation.
Part of the process to secure funding was the need to produce a local development strategy setting out the priorities for funding and the eligible activities, including rural enterprise and farm diversification activities.
In the Highlands this strategy has been developed through a process of extensive community engagement held between June and September last year and it was submitted to the Scottish Government in October. Feedback received in December 2014 was on the whole very positive, however, a number of clarifications were required.
Yesterday (Wednesday 25th March) the revised version of the strategy was approved for resubmission to the Scottish Government and the Highland LEADER team are now awaiting the outcome.
Chair of the Highland LEADER Shadow Local Action Group (LAG), Frances Gunn said: “We know there are a lot of community groups and businesses out there waiting for the Programme to open for applications, and based on the previous Programme there will be a huge number of excellent projects waiting in the wings. We are working very hard to secure our allocation to enable us to get going, however, it is crucial that the guidance for the scheme is fully developed by the Scottish Government before we accept any applications so we can have confidence that the projects we approve are technically eligible.”
Further details about the Highland LEADER Programme can be found by visiting http://www.highlandleader.com/