The LEADER Programme supports “community led local development” where the people most directly involved take the reins,  and develop responses to the needs of their own community. Sometimes this involves training or mentoring so that they have the skills, confidence and ownership of the initiative.  It can also involve building social capital – “networks together with shared norms, values and understandings” (OECD, 2001) – which support individuals through the sharing of knowledge and enthusiasm.

The 24 week Craft Network Training, launched on 10th September 2019 in partnership with the Local Enterprise Office, is a stellar example of this work – an innovative training programme which not only imparted skills but formed participants into a self-governing Network to promote the work of Craftspeople in the county.

This work has now come to fruition with the formation of the Network and the launch of the aesthetically designed website,

LEADER recognises the value of the creative sector to economic development of the County and is delighted to have supported this work. As Project Officer Helen Mulhall observed,

“The stand out achievement of the programme is the building of a network for craft by crafts people themselves,  with its own identity and vision”. This need was identified by the craftspeople themselves who were exploring their own business development and marketing with support from Kildare LEO. They saw a need to work collaboratively, and the LEO were keen to support this so together with the LEADER programme the training was put in place. The network is the result of the proven combination of LEADER funding, bottom-up development,  and local partnership in the economic life of the county”

Make sure to check out and #originalkildare on social media support the local makers, creators, designers and artists of County Kildare.