LEADER (Liaisons Entre Actions de Development de l’economie Rurale) was established by the European Commission in 1991 to aid the development of sustainable rural communities following the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy.
LEADER – Rural Development Programme 2014– 2020
The LEADER programme has been supporting communities and business in County Kildare for almost 20 years. Under the Rural Development Programme 2007-2014, 232 projects were supported with €8.2 million in LEADER grant aid. The projects supported have ranged in size from small projects to large flagship projects in a diverse range of sectors but primarily in the areas of farm diversification, enterprise, rural tourism, heritage, town and village renewal, community facilities and amenities, renewable energy and environmental projects.
The LEADER Initiative (Liaisons Entre Actions de Developement de l’Economie Rurale) was established by the European Commission in 1991 and was designed to aid the development of sustainable rural communities following the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy. Highly successful it operates across the European Union and in all rural areas of Ireland. LEADER is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Irish Exchequer.
Rural Development Programme (LEADER) 2014-2020
Themes & Subthemes
The focus of the LEADER Programme (2014-2020) is “To promote social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas”.
The following programme themes and subthemes will be targeted under the programme. These are taken from the national themes and subthemes of the LEADER programme 2014-2020.
Theme 1 – Economic Development, Enterprise Development & Job Creation
- Rural Tourism
- Enteprise Development
- Rural Towns
Theme 2 – Social Inclusion
- Basic Services Targeted at “Hard-to-Reach” Communities
- Rural Youth
Theme 3 – Rural Environment
- Protection & Sustainable Use of Water Resources
- Protection and Improvement of Local Biodiversity
- Development of Renewable Energy
Kildare’s Local Development Strategy (LDS) – Priority Actions
To complement the significant evidence based research in Kildare which was available through Kildare County Council, there was also an in-depth countywide participative process undertaken. In October/November 2014 and -September/October 2015 public consultation meetings and focus group meetings were held in numerous locations across the County to get feedback on local requirements and potential actions under each of the themes and subthemes of the programme. Meetings were also held with relevant agencies and stakeholders in each sector. The information gathered from this process was used to devise a local Development Strategy (LDS) for Kildare. Kildare LCDC has prioritised the following themes and objectives which have been identified as priority strategic actions in the Kildare Local Development Strategy (LDS):
Click HERE to access the Local Development Strategy for the Rural Development Programme.
1.1 To support a digital marketing platform for County Kildare.
1.2 To support the growth of Kildare’s tourism sector by improving and expanding on the quality and range of products on offer, particularly within Hub/Cluster destination development
1.3 Build the capacity of Kildare’s tourism sector.
2.1 County Flagship – Support Kildare’s Creative Network and Craft Design Hubs.
2.2 Research and capacity building for LEADER-type enterprises in Kildare.
2.3 Support and expand LEADER-type micro/SME and Social Enterprise in Kildare.
2.4 Support Kildare’s artisan food sector as a mechanism to create local jobs.
3.1 Support four Town Revival Business Plans in specific towns in Kildare.
3.2 Kildare Rural Towns – Capital Support Programme.
4.1 Support for small scale feasibility and equipment for increased broadband access
Basic Services for Hard to Reach Communities
5.1 Support for community infrastructure and activities in areas of greatest need.
5.2 Capacity building and technical support for hard-to-reach communities.
6.1 Rural Youth Training for empowerment and employment initiative.
6.2 Develop and enhance youth facilities and amenities and build the capacity of young
Protection and Sustainable Use of Water Resources
7.1 Sustainable Water Resource Management Programme
Protection and Improvement of Local Biodiversity
8.1 Biodiversity awareness and protection programme
8.2 Enhance and protect Kildare’s unique local biodiversity
8.3 Integrated landscape plan for the Curragh Plains
Development of Renewable Energy
9.1 Increase employment through renewable energy businesses and build greater
awareness and capacities in this area of renewables.
Examples of Projects that can be supported under each LEADER Subtheme.
- Feasibility studies to explore the tourism potential of an area/project.
- Marketing initiatives (community groups/cluster/network of tourism businesses only unless part of a capital project)
- Promotion of the area as a destination
- Creation of tourism hubs to facilitate a multi sectoral approach
- Arts-based activities and events e.g. festivals and events
- Accommodation in certain areas
- Activity / adventure tourism
- Culture & heritage tourism
- Rural recreation
- Marine & water based tourism
Supports are available for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s).
Please note that Kildare Local Enterprise Office (LEO) has primary responsibility for micro-enterprise and there will be a project referral process in place between County Kildare LEADER Partnership and Kildare LEO.
- Agricultural diversification (e.g. farm shops)
- Artisan and other food & beverage businesses
- Renewable energy
- Creative industry
- Social enterprises
- Streetscape enhancement
- Tidy Towns
- Community buildings providing multi-functional infrastructure development of recreation spaces.
- Development of markets
- Unique social events and activities
Basic services for Hard-To-Reach Communities
This subtheme focuses on improving access to basic services for people living in rural and remote areas and groups who are at risk of social exclusion. Types of activities include:
- Community activities / facilities
- Education / training
- Social / cultural activities
- Recreation facilities
Examples of groups who may be at risk of social exclusion include but are not limited to;
- Those living in disadvantaged areas
- Those living in remote and less accessible areas
- Unemployed and underemployed people
- Fishermen or farmers on small holdings
- Lone Parents
- People with a disability
- Older people
- People living alone
- NEETs (Young People who are Not in Employment, Education or Training)
- Migrants / new communities
- The provision of youth clubs / cafes
- Improved access to Information & Communications Technology (ICT)
- Sports/recreation activities
- Arts based projects
- Youth development programmes
Protection and Sustainable use of Water Resources
- Raising general awareness on water conservation issues
- Development of local water conservation plans and feasibility studies
- Awareness / training on the technical aspects of water recycling schemes.
- Inititatives that conserve water e.g. community programmes for rain water harvesting.
Protection and Improvement of Local Biodiversity
- Actions that promote and protect local biodiversity
- Feasibility studies and action plans
- Upgrading parks and river walks
- Establishment of nature corridors
- Habitat creation / planting schemes for native species
Eligible Costs & Activities
- Construction and redevelopment work
- Purchase of new machinery and equipment
- Professional costs e.g. architect, engineer, archaeologist, consultants fees (up to 12% of capital costs of projects)
- Group marketing schemes
- Feasibilty study / Development plans / Analysis & Development
- Training programmes
- Donations (community only)
- Purchase of land (community only)
- Mainstream Agriculture
- Horticulture (including beekeeping)
- Conventional retail operations (except community / farm shops)
- Training which is part of normal education programmes
- Conventional motor vehicles including cars, industrial/farm/construction vehicles, vans and buses
- General maintenance work of public bodies
- Nursing homes
- Race and sport horse industries
- Greyhound industry
- Loans / leasing
- Working capital (including stock)
- Insurance for project promoters
- Gifts / donations / fines / penalties
- Costs associated with meeting a legislative or statutory requirement
- Planning application fees
- Reclaimable VAT
- Improvements / refurbishment of a private residential property
- Projects that already have other EU funding either directly or through a national source
|Summary of current Funding Ceilings and Support Rates|
|Type of Project||Applicant||Maximum Rate of Aid||Maximum|
|Investment and other supports (including animation undertaken as part of the implementation of a project)||Private||Up to a maximum of 50%||€200,000.00(NB this may be reduced / capped)|
|Community||Up to a maximum of 75%|
|Community under Basic Services Targeted at Hard-to-Reach Communities subtheme||Up to a maximum of 90%|
|Analysis & Development||Private||Up to a maximum of 75%||€30,000.00|
|Community||Up to a maximum of 90%|
|Training||Private or community||Up to a maximum of 100%||€200,000.00|
- Funding of €1,250 is the minimum grant that can be allocated.
- LEADER funding is not intended for large scale projects. In most cases the finite nature of the funding will mean that the average grant is likely to be much lower than the maximum figure.
- Please note that the above rates and ceilings are the maximum allowed. In some cases these may be reduced.
Significant changes for LEADER in Kildare 2014-2020
The new LEADER programme 2014-2020 is quite different from previous LEADER programmes.
Please be advised that there is a completely new set of procedures for the processing of all applications, including the following:
- Kildare Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) has the responsibility for the delivery of LEADER 2014-2020.
- County Kildare Leader Partnership is now designated as the Implementing Partner for the new Programme.
- The Kildare LCDC is now the decision-making body in respect of the new LEADER programme. The LCDC is an independent committee established under Kildare County Council. This is a new procedure and is different from previous LEADER Programmes.
- There is now a two stage process for potential grant applications. The first stage is what is now being referred to as an Expression of Interest stage and the second is the full Application stage. This is also a new procedure and is different from previous LEADER programmes.
- In a change from the rolling application process that applied during previous LEADER programmes, the new Programme will have competitive targeted calls for proposals for applications from different sectors at specific times throughout the duration of the programme as well as rolling calls for proposals. A minimum of 40% of the overall budget must be allocated to targeted calls.
- Targeted calls for proposals are time specific and all projects under a particular category must be processed, evaluated and decisions made on a collective basis. There is no first come first served option under targeted calls for proposals.
- For 2017, the LCDC has agreed that all projects will be processed on a targeted call for proposals basis.
2017 Targeted Calls for Proposals
Based on the Local Development Strategy approved for County Kildare, the following sectors are being targeted for action in 2017, as follows:
Preliminary 2017 Allocation: €206,114.00
Commence process for targeted calls for proposals in February 2017
Preliminary 2017 Allocation: €280,076.00
Preliminary 2017 Allocation: €70,000.00
Commence process for targeted calls for proposals in April 2017
Preliminary 2017 Allocation: €100,000.00
Preliminary 2017 Allocation: €201,300.00
Commence process for targeted calls for proposals in September 2017
|Quarter 4For Quarter 4, the following themes will be the subject of targeted calls for proposals:
The date for calls for proposals for Quarter 4 will be announced in due course.
Please take note of the new application procedure.
Stage 1: Expressions of Interest
All applicants must complete an Expression of Interest Form (EOI) for each project. If your Expression of Interest form is deemed eligible in principle, you will then be given an application form and invited to submit your application for LEADER funding.
Stage 2: Application Stage
EOIs deemed eligible will be invited to submit a full application and we will work with eligible potential applications to guide them through the process. Invitation to application stage does not mean that you will be awarded grant aid as it is a competitive process.