EU Leader Programmes

EU LEADER grants to support businesses in rural Test Valley

‘LEADER’ is a method of providing EU Rural Development Programme grant funding at the local level via a Local Action Group. It aims to address lagging economic performance, and the resultant social and environmental problems that this causes, in rural areas. Businesses and not for profit groups can identify and develop projects to address these issues and apply for grant funding to support them.

LEADER funding of has been allocated to rural Test Valley and surrounding areas over the next 5 years. It is administered by three different Local Action Groups (LAG) who work in partnership with Test Valley Borough Council and other local authorities.

A map of the LEADER Local Action Groups covering Test Valley is available here. Contact details for the LEADER programme in your area are available below.

The UK Government’s focus for the next Rural Development Programme is on jobs and growth with the following sectors being priority areas for support through the LEADER programme:

• Priority 1: Support to increase farm productivity
• Priority 2: Support for micro and small businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification
• Priority 3: Support for rural tourism
• Priority 4: Support for the provision of rural services
• Priority 5: Support for cultural and heritage activity
• Priority 6: Support for increasing forestry productivity

Successful applicants could receive grants typically ranging from £2,500 up to £50,000. For commercial projects grants are typically a maximum of 40% of the eligible project costs with the applicant providing 60% from their own resources

LEADER is predominantly a capital grant programme; funding investment in certain types of buildings, equipment and machinery to help businesses to grow and/or create jobs. It will not fund general running costs, salaries or stock.

Formal grant approval is required before you commit to purchasing any equipment or carrying out any work on your project.

For more information visit the website of the LEADER Group in your area:
Covering Bourne Valley - www.northwessexleader.org.uk
Covering southern Test Valley –www.newforestleader.org.uk
Covering the rest of Test Valley – www.ruralfunding.co.uk