Outer Hebrides LEADER

Leader Inse Gall Logo

The Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 Programme is now closed.  The Scottish Government’s Community Led Local Development (CLLD) scheme has been created in its place.

What is LEADER?

LEADER - Liason Entre Actions de Dèveloppment Èconomique Rurale
or Links between Activities Developing Rural Communities.

LEADER was a bottom-up method of delivering support for rural development and was primarily aimed at developing and establishing small-scale, community-driven projects that are pilot and innovative in nature. Its main principle of community-led local development ensured the benefits and participation of the local community in projects was central in securing LEADER funding.

The programme is managed by the Outer Hebrides LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) who are a public-private partnership comprising of representatives from community trusts, public and private agencies, voluntary sector and other industry support groups from throughout the islands. 

The Outer Hebrides LEADER programme supported projects to build and develop new facilities, host events, develop new initiatives, provide employment opportunities and supported many more lasting legacies to both businesses and communities throughout the Outer Hebrides.


Whilst also being part of the SRDP (Scottish Rural Development Programme), LEADER is a European funding initiative and therefore this current programme will be the last delivered in the UK due to Brexit.  Alternative UK/Scottish funding programmes have not been confirmed.

Between 1991-2020 the Outer Hebrides have benefited immensely from the various LEADER programmes as follows:

Outer Hebrides Leader Programmes 1991-2020
Value (millions)
Programming Period No. of Projects Allocation (millions) Public (millions) Private Funding (millions)
LEADER I 1991-1993 220 1.4 2.9 0.8 5.1
LEADER II 1994-1999 296 2.4 3.2 1.9 7.5


(Skye and Lochalsh were also included however these figures relate only to the Outer Hebrides projects)
2000-2006 106 1.4 2.3 0.6 4.3
LEADER 2007-2013 111 3.26 4.09 1.49 8.84
LEADER 2014-2020 49 3.18 4.32 1.28 8.78
TOTAL   782 11.64 16.81 6.07 34.52


To celebrate the LEADER and  European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) programmes the LAG commissioned the production of six inspirational films showcasing the dedication, commitment, resilience, and support that communities and businesses have given to develop the economic and social sustainability of the Outer Hebrides:

Watch the films on their YouTube (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) channel

Outer Hebrides LEADER and EMFF Commissioned Studies

  • Outer Hebrides LEADER and EMFF 2014-2020 Programme Evaluation – this provides a full and balanced review of the delivery and support provided through Outer Hebrides LEADER and EMFF 2014-2020 Programmes and includes recommendations on improvements which could be incorporated into a future community-led local development programme.

Outer Hebrides LEADER and EMFF 2014-2020 Programme Evaluation - Full Evaluation (4.1MB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)

Outer Hebrides LEADER and EMFF 2014-2020 Programme Evaluation - Evaluation Summary (733.4kB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)

  • Identifying Funding Gaps in the Outer Hebrides Study – This studies key purpose was to identify funding gaps in support for local rural development in the Outer Hebrides.  This included looking at previous programmes legacies, identifying funding mechanisms and recommending key areas of need and support.  The study began early in January 2020 and concluded in December 2020 and therefore unintentionally, as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in restrictions and lockdown, the study tracks the changes in communities needs and aspirations and consequently the resulting funding gaps identified.

Identifying Funding Gaps in the Outer Hebrides Study - Full Study (3.1MB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)

Identifying Funding Gaps in the Outer Hebrides Study - Summary Document (185.4kB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)

Crofting Connections Project, Lochs School Pupils, Isle of Lewis, creating raised beds in 2011, Outer Hebrides LEADER 2007-2013 Programme

Uig Sands Restaurant, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 Programme

Knitted Herring in the Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 supported new Grimsay Commuinty Associations Boat Haven building. Picture courtesy of the Uist Yarn Studio, partners in the Outer Hebrides and Fife LEADER programmmes ‘Knitting the Herring’ Collaboration project.

Marine Scotland Logo
Leader Logo
SG Logo
Marine Scot Logo