LEADER funding is EU money that is allocated via DEFRA for more information take a look at the EU Commission’s rural development website.

The Programme is overseen across the UK by the RPA (Rural Payments Agency) on behalf of Defra, meaning that there is a standardised application process and one set of forms for all applications.

LEADER is an established mechanism for delivering rural development funds at a local level. It uses local knowledge to promote a joined-up ‘bottom up’ community-led delivery of RDP grants. In England this is being delivered by Local Action Groups (LAGs) and it targets rural areas with specific needs and priorities.

A Local Action Group brings together individuals from local public, private and civil societies, who have been delegated powers of strategy and delivery including allocation of grant funds. Through an agreed Local Development Strategy, LAGs are able to tackle important local priorities in a locally specific, innovative and participative way.

Where will LEADER operate?

Details of the 80 areas where LEADER will operate can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/rural-development-programme-for-england-leader-funding.