The Outer Hebrides LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) has announced following its December 2018 LAG meeting that the 2014-2020 Programme allocation is now all-but fully committed. A limited level of funding is still available, ring-fenced for ‘co-operation projects’ with other LEADER LAG areas at home and abroad.
The Outer Hebrides LEADER Programme 2014-2020 has committed over £2.1m in grant funding to 39 projects since opening in March 2016 – levering-in an additional £5.2m of external funding to the local economy as a result. The focus of the current Programme was on supporting and developing rural services and facilities, developing and aiding tourism initiatives – in particular natural, archaeological, creative, cultural and Gaelic heritage - as well as encouraging croft-diversification. Projects supported include small rural businesses, community enterprises and voluntary sector organisations.
In addition, as part of the ‘Year of Young People 2018’ the LEADER LAG established a Youth LAG (YLAG) comprising youth representatives between of 14–25 years of age from a variety of organisations across the Outer Hebrides. The YLAG was allocated £100k and supported six youth-related projects across the Outer Hebrides.
Ian Fordham, Chairman of the Outer Hebrides LAG said:
“The LEADER LAG is delighted to support so many projects which deliver economic benefits through income-generation opportunities in local communities, with a range of cultural and social benefit spin-offs in addition.”
While the programme is now closed to standard enquiries for community-project, it is still open for co-operation project enquiries. The Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 Programme can provide grant funding to support groups who would like to network and develop projects and ideas with other similar groups or organisation in Scotland, the UK or further afield - with the aim of exchanging ideas and learning new skills.
Co-operation projects aim to encourage innovation and collaboration between groups and other countries. It is an essential element of the LEADER approach and is concerned with adding scale to projects, building relationships between people and groups in different areas and bringing them together around a common purpose.
The Outer Hebrides LEADER Programme is administered by a LAG, comprising of private and public-sector representatives from across a wide range of sectoral interests and the Outer Hebrides was awarded £3.2m from the EU LEADER 2014-2020 Programme. LEADER has been active in delivering significant community-led local development (CLLD) opportunities in local communities across the Outer Hebrides for over 25 years
The LEADER team is accessible in the Comhairle’s Stornoway and Balivanich offices to support properly-constituted groups and small businesses with co-operation projects that create opportunities with tangible local development outputs. Prospective applicants should initially submit an expression of interest through the LEADER website (Opens in a new window or downloads a file), where further information can also be found, and a LEADER officer will contact you to discuss your proposal, its eligibility and next steps.