Transitional Programme announced for LEADER Programme today
- Programme will bridge gap between EU LEADER programming periods
- Initial allocation of €20 million to support locally-led rural development
- Key focus on building capacity in communities
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, today announced details of the Transitional LEADER Programme which will come into effect in April 2021.
The Minister also announced some flexibilities in relation to the finalisation of the current LEADER programme.
In line with a commitment in the Programme for Government, the Transitional LEADER Programme will bridge a gap between the wind-up of the current 2014-2020 LEADER Programme and the start of the next EU programme, which is not likely to commence until 2023 due to delays at EU level.
The key features announced by the Minister are :
- An initial allocation of €20 million will be available under the Transitional Programme to cover both new projects and the administration costs of the Local Action Groups who deliver the programme.
- Funding for the Transitional Programme will be reviewed in 2021 when there is certainty regarding EU funding for the transitional period to 2023.
- Project approvals under the Transitional Programme will commence from 1st April 2021. However, Local Action Groups can work on identifying and animating potential projects from 1st January 2021.
- Funding will also be provided in 2021 to the Local Action Groups for the on-going management and delivery of projects still running under the 2014-2020 LEADER programme.
- A key focus of the Transitional Programme will be on building capacity within communities which have not received LEADER funding to date.
- The programme will also support job creation, foster and encourage entrepreneurship, and support projects which address the climate agenda, digital transformation and encourage rural communities to build on their existing strengths and assets.
- Under the Transitional Programme, the grant rate for enterprises and commercial projects will be increased from a maximum of 50% to a maximum of 75% to support enterprise development and job creation in rural areas.
- A new call for proposals under the LEADER Food Initiative, which supports new and existing artisan, micro and small food producers, will be announced in 2021.
- The deadline for commitments under the current LEADER programme will be extended to the end of March 2021 to facilitate the full allocation of funds available under that programme.
- Under the current programme, Local Action Groups will be allowed to recommit un-used funding due, for example, to underspends or projects not proceeding.