The Launch Event

The joint launch event for Making it Local and REAL Devon was held at the stunningly beautiful Muddifords Court in Willand on 9th May 2016 and was a wonderful evening.

We had 11 businesses who had stands and offered information and support to potential applicants.

The 65 attendees started the evening with a drink, delicious pasties and a cream tea, while taking the opportunity to network and visit the stands.

Feedback on the event was positive, many people thanking us for an informative evening. We have had 4 project leads to follow up.

The evening presentations began with a brief overview of the LEADER programme by Dominie Dunbrook the Programme Manager for both Making it Local and REAL Devon.

Cllr Richard Chesterton, Chairman of REAL Devon gave a short overview of the REAL Devon area, and what the Local action group aims to achieve. REAL Devon is new to LEADER and has never had the EU funding before. Richard spoke on behalf of himself and the Executive group members expressing how excited they are to be involved in making a real difference with this valuable money.

Richard also gave an overview of the 4 projects that have been awarded funding so far in the REAL Devon area:

  • A Thoverton farming business that wanted to invest in new techniques by purchasing a Zero Tillage drill was awarded £12,000.
  • A Tiverton based import export Micro business was awarded £4,000 to help with a new phone system, warehouse equipment and signage for their new location, which will enable them to create new jobs and expand their export areas.
  • An Orchard near Crediton that has been running as a hobby business was awarded £15,000 to refurbish a building, purchase processing and bottling equipment to enable them to produce apple juice to sell.
  • A Winery in Clayhanger was awarded £26,000 to help them renovate and equip an old barn to enable them to increase their sparkling wine production.

Cllr Paul Diviani, Chairman of Making it Local, spoke about his involvement with Making it Local for many years and gave a flavour of the changes that have happened since the first tranche of funding. Paul told the attendees about how much good the money has achieved previously and how there is still a long way to go and that this funding is incredibly important to help businesses in these rural areas.

Paul gave an overview of the two projects that have been awarded so far in the Making it Local area:

  • A cider producer in Ilminster who were awarded £21,000 to expand the business with the purchase of new kegging and associated equipment. This will enable them to expand their business from solely bottles into kegs in pubs.
  • A Farmer who wants to invest in a new and innovative slurry management system was awarded £15,000. The new system takes a waste product and turns it into safe and hygienic bedding for the animals.

We would like to thank all the businesses and attendees who helped to make the launch of Making it Local and REAL Devon a huge success.

Go to our website to find out more about the businesses that attended and for an overview of LEADER.

We are recruiting paid appraisers

We are seeking to recruit appraisers to appraise project applications for the new LEADER programme (2015-2020).

We are extremely keen to engage a “pool” of appraisers to appraise project applications for two Local Action Groups (LAGs), Making It Local, which covers the Blackdown hills and East Devon and REAL Devon which covers mostly Mid Devon. Details of the specific areas and full programme information can be found on their respective websites: www.makingitlocal.organd

The Programme management of these two LAGS is undertaken by the same team, therefore it is also felt that a joint pool of appraisers would give greater flexibility and ensure that there are always appraisers available. Devon County Council is the accountable body for the two programmes.

What skills are required?
To be an appraiser for the LEADER programme you will have a depth of skills, knowledge and experience in at least one of the following areas:

  • Agriculture and/or farm diversification
  • Rural tourism
  • Forestry
  • Rural services
  • Culture and Heritage
  • Small and micro business support

The appraisal process is very detailed so knowledge/experience in the following areas will be essential.

  • Ability to understand financial accounts and income/expenditure projections for businesses and not-for-profit organisations
  • Understanding of how to consider displacement issues and the impact of grant funding on an existing market place
  • Ability to assess appropriate fit with key programme criteria from an application form
  • Good understanding of ‘need’ and ‘demand’ as defined by the project and in line with the requirements of the programme
  • Understanding of good project management including recording outputs, monitoring and evaluation, project delivery stages, and marketing activities

Good local knowledge of the programme areas and the communities/sectors that make up each of these areas.

A sound knowledge of issues facing rural communities and businesses would also be helpful.

Ideally you will have previous appraisal experience – but this is not essential if you have the some of the above skills.

What is the payment for undertaking an appraisal?
There is a fixed fee of £200 per appraisal. You must be self-employed or have a business status to be able to become an appraiser.

How much time will an appraisal take?
The appraisal template is very complex. Our current experience is that appraisals can take up to 7 hours to complete. There may also be a requirement to review and update an appraisal if it is ‘failed’ by the RPA on the quality control checking process. We would expect an appraisal to take no longer than 10 hours.

How many appraisals will I be asked to do?
It is not expected that any one appraiser will be asked to undertake more than 5 appraisals during the programme lifetime. If more than 5 are required this will be done on a case-by-case basis with prior agreement from the appraiser.

What is required?
The appraisal process is a desk based activity – no project visits or contact with the applicant is made by the appraiser. The only communication made is between the appraiser and the programme team office.

The appraisal paperwork will be mostly available electronically, but there may also be the transfer of the project file, which the applicant will be responsible for whilst it is in their possession. Devon County Council operates using ‘sharepoint’ which we will set up for all appraisers to access the appropriate project files.

IT literacy and good broadband availability is essential.

What training will be available?
We have set up a training session that all new appraisers will be required to attend. You will not be able to undertake any appraisals until you have been fully trained. Further details of the training session were provided in the covering email – a session has been set for July 12th in the Cullompton Community Centre. The costs for attending this training will have to be met by the appraiser, but we will provide refreshments and lunch and cover mileage if appropriate receipts for petrol can be provided.

We may then undertake refresher sessions if we feel it is needed or if updates to the programme criteria/processes are issued by the RPA.

What do I do next?
If you are interested in registering your interest for being an appraiser for the LEADER programmes in Devon then please email Linda Wilson, Programme Officer. We will then let you know what the next stage is.


If you would like to discuss this opportunity before you register your interest please contact the Programme Manager, Dominie Dunbrook on 01392 383000 or email