Rural Economy Spotlight – LEADER programmes making a real difference

March 2017

LEADER programmes making a real difference
This edition of the Rural Services Network – Rural Economy Spotlight – includes a special feature which highlights a range of case studies from Leader programmes around the country. You will find this at the end of the Spotlight.


EU Money is still available

Despite the decision to leave the EU Cambridgeshire Fenland businesses have the opportunity to benefit from EU grant programme LEADER.

The Cambridgeshire Fens LEADER programme has access to just over £1.1m of funding to support farms and small businesses in and around the Fenland area.  A number of projects have already been funded so it’s important that people take the opportunities while they exist.

Despite the uncertainty created by the Brexit decision access to grant funding still exists and this has been supported by the Government in the recent Autumn Statement. The Treasury have confirmed that any funding awarded through EU grant schemes will be honoured if the funding arrangements have been put in place prior to the UK leaving the European Union, even when commitments continue beyond our departure from the EU.

For the Fenland this means that funding is still, very much on offer; whether that money is replaced and how it will be substituted, is just conjecture.

Kimimg_1241 Oakhill, of SIGMA Embroidery and Printing, based in Littleport, received a LEADER gran
t to help her business grow.  Kim said, ‘Sigma were so excited to have been accepted to receive a Leader Grant. The grant has allowed us to purchase equipment, which we otherwise couldn’t have afforded. The new equipment has allowed us to increase the range of services we offer and has therefore opened up more business opportunities, which is helping us to grow. We aim to take on a new member of staff shortly.’

The LEADER programme has already awarded grants of £86,634 to support farm productivity and small and micro businesses. £149,800 has also been agreed to the most recent applicants who are currently arranging for their projects to be completed. Current applicants not only include farmers and small businesses but also a community centre, school, tourism projects and culture and heritage groups.


Support Workshop for Applicants for Fens LEADER Funding

Tuesday 14th March 2017 – 4-8pm

At Cambridgeshire Acre Office – 72 Market Street, Ely, CB7 4LS

Turn your ideas into fundable projects

You are invited to attend a workshop to provide you with  further information and personalised guidance to support you through the application process.

Kieran Carr, Programme Manager and Alison Earl,  Monitoring and Administration Officer will be offering 1 to 1 support to:

  • Explain the process and documents required
  • Listen to your ideas and help develop them into projects
  • Advise on how to overcome stumbling blocks

If you wish to attend you need to book a one hour time slot. It may be helpful for you to come with a colleague/partner and to bring a laptop so that forms can be completed electronically during the session.

RSVP to Alison Earl to arrange the time for your workshop or for further information   Direct Dial 01353 865044





Wildlife Friendly Farming – Great educational films, and more

The  ‘Wildlife Friendly Farming and Community Engagement’ project was delivered by the RSPB as part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership’s portfolio of projects. Two fantastic short films have been uploaded to the Ouse Washes LP’s YouTube channel that were created as part of the range of activities and outputs of this project.


As well as being committed to managing areas of their land specifically for wildlife, the Nature Friendly Zone farmers have helped the project engage with more than 2,000 local people in the Fens through a range of community outreach events, from wildlife workshops to farm walks and school visits, all with the aim of generating local support for wildlife-friendly farming.

Meeting the philanthropic needs of rural England

Wednesday 14th December 2016, 10.00am-3.30pm
Westgate New Church, Peterborough, PE1 1RG

Don’t miss the next seminar in the 2016-2017 programme. Taking place on Wednesday 14th December 2016 in Peterborough, the event will consider what role is (and could) philanthropy play in rural communities.

  •  Clare Crookenden (The Prince’s Countryside Fund): Delivering programmes & activities that support rural lives
  •  Claire Watts (East Riding of Yorkshire Council): New directions in Local Government Funding – the role of the external funding team and implications of Autumn Statement
  •  Gordon Hunter (Lincolnshire Community Foundation) & Richard Collins (Sortified CIC): Pooled funding – improving community health, safety & wellbeing

Refreshments will be available on arrival and after lunch. Please note that as this is a free event, lunch is not provided. The venue is close to the Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough so there are places to buy a light lunch in the area.

Places are limited so please book your free place now by completing and returning this booking form to

East of England Farming Conference 3 November 2016

This year’s East of England Farming Conference will cover farming outside of Europe, new technology and innovation, and examples of how young producers are rising to the challenge of being efficient and profitable. 
Promising a great line up, this is a must attend event for anyone interested in the future of food and farming. 

East of England Agricultural Society is a registered charity which focuses on the promotion and support of agriculture and rural life.
The Society has an active programme for knowledge transfer among farmers and others engaged in the technical side of the agri sector. It recognises that the next generation has to deal with the challenges being set today.
For more information and to book your place at he conference, visit:

Support for Rural Services – Workshop

A special event was held for community groups with an interest in LEADER funding. This was held at Doddington Village Hall on 20th September 2016.

event-photoThe top two questions and answers:

What can be funded?

  • Setting up or improvement of essential rural   services such as a pub, shop, post office or pre-school
  • Development of community buildings including improving access to utilities & renewable energy sources
  • Cultural & heritage attractions
  • Community enterprises delivering local services

How much funding can we get?

  • Up to 40% of the eligible project costs for commercial activities
  • Up to 80% for non-profit making projects that where there is some income to offset costs but no profit or dividend
  • Up to 100% for projects where there is no income

Following the workshop 4 projects are currently being taken forward. We are aware that the application process is challenging and time-consuming but we are available to help. We’re looking forward to sharing news of  successful applications and the impact of funding.

If you missed the event but would like to know more, email or phone Kieran Carr or Alison Earl


Further certainty on EU funding for hundreds of British projects

Further funding certainty for hundreds of British projects which are reliant on EU funding, announced by the Chancellor.

Following his announcement in August, which guaranteed funds for projects signed up until the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor has now extended this guarantee to the point at which the UK departs the EU.

The Chancellor confirmed that the government will guarantee EU funding for structural and investment fund projects, including agri-environment schemes, signed after the Autumn Statement and which continue after we have left the EU.

He was clear, while the UK is still a member of the EU, British businesses, farmers and other organisations must be entitled to apply for EU funds.

Funding for projects will be honoured by the government, if they meet the following conditions:

  • they are good value for money
  • they are in line with domestic strategic priorities

As a result, British businesses, farmers and other organisations will have additional certainty over future funding and should continue to apply for EU funding while the UK remains a member of the EU.

Full story @

Autumn Statement 2016 date confirmed

Autumn Statement will be on Wednesday 23 November 2016.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has today (8 September 2016) announced that he will present his first Autumn Statement to Parliament on 23 November 2016.

The Autumn Statement is based on the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility for the economy and public finances.