The Cambridgeshire Fens LEADER Vision is:
“To support the sustainable development of the rural economy by investing in proposals which optimise the unique assets of the Cambridgeshire Fens, offer good value for money and strengthen the sustainable economic, social and environmental well-being of local communities”.
LEADER is a well-established method of providing Rural Development Programme (RDP) funding at the local level.
RDP is European funding that provides support for economic, social and environmental development in the countryside. The funding comes from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and from Defra.
The LEADER approach involves addressing local priorities in an innovative, inclusive and locally specific way.
A LEADER Local Action Group (LAG), made up of public, private and third sector representatives, is formed and given delegated powers to bring forward and fund projects in line with an agreed Local Development Strategy (LDS).
Cambridgeshire ACRE has a good track record in delivering European-funded programmes, having successfully led a previous RDP funded LEADER programme known as the Fens Adventurers from 2009-13 within Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk Fens. Over its lifetime, it invested £2.57 million in 66 initiatives, levering an additional £4.8 million of private finance into the locality.
In March 2015, Defra announced that the Cambridgeshire Fens LEADER LAG had been awarded £1.45m to deliver a new four year programme aimed at helping local businesses, farmers, land managers and communities to create jobs and growth, mainly via small grants.