New Cotswolds rural grants programme opens for business

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A programme to boost jobs and growth for rural businesses and communities in the Cotswolds with nearly £2m of funding is now open for business.

The Cotswolds LEADER programme is open for applications and will provide grants to small businesses, farmers, foresters and communities for projects that create jobs and grow the rural economy.

LEADER is a method of delivering rural development through a local community led approach. It is a European Union initiative and forms part of the Rural Development Programme for England.

Its priorities in the Cotswolds are to:
•    support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
•    boost rural tourism
•    increase farm productivity
•    increase forestry productivity
•    provide cultural and heritage activities
•    provide rural services


The Cotswolds Conservation Board with the Local Action Group (LAG) was successful in securing in the region of £1.98m for projects in significant parts of rural Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. 

The new LEADER programme is to be the focus of the Cotswolds annual forum jointly run and hosted by Cotswolds Conservation Board and the newly formed Cotswolds Local Action Group (LAG) on Friday 20 November.

This year’s forum taking place at the Stratton House Hotel near Cirencester will officially launch the LEADER programme and provide a greater insight to its purposes, outcomes and how it fits into the other economic development and growth initiatives. Keynote speakers at the forum are: Dawn Pettis from Oxfordshire LEP, Paul Silcock, of Cumulus Consultants Ltd and Ivan Annibal, from Rose Regeneration.

Jo Burgon from the LAG said: “The Local Development Strategy recognises the potential and diversity of rural businesses in the Cotswolds. The new LEADER programme will add value to our growth orientated enterprises.

We are pleased to launch the LEADER programme at the forum, where our keynote speakers will demonstrate how an area can help and support itself with sustainable business growth.”

The Cotswolds Conservation Board’s Director Martin Lane said: “The launch of the Cotswolds LEADER programme at the forum is a significant milestone. This new 5 year funding stream provides a wonderful opportunity to grow sustainable rural businesses and jobs. The forum provides an excellent opportunity to discuss ideas at an early stage”.

To find out more about the Cotswolds LEADER programme visit www.cotswoldsleader.org.uk

Photo opportunity:
Photo opportunity with LAG members, the LAG Executive Group, Cotswolds Conservation Board members, the Advisory Network, neighbouring LAGs, partner organisations and Defra.

12noon, Friday 20 November 2015, Stratton House Hotel, Gloucester Road, Stratton, GL7 2LE.

Press contact:
Chris Brant, Communications Officer
Tel: 01451 862003  Email: chris.brant@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
Cotswolds Conservation Board, Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH
Tel: 01451 862000 Website: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk


Notes to editors:
•    The Cotswolds Conservation Board with the Local Action Group (LAG) has been successful in securing in the region of £1.98m for projects which create jobs and economic growth in significant parts of rural Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
•    The LEADER programme in the Cotswolds is run by a Local Action Group (LAG Executive), made up of individuals from the private, public and voluntary sectors.
•    The LAG Executive makes a funding decision on each project at both the outline and full application stages in accordance with LEADER eligibility requirements, and priorities for investment as detailed in the Cotswolds Local Development Strategy.
•    The Cotswolds Conservation Board is an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
•    The programme can invest in farmers, growers, foresters, small rural businesses, and tourism and community organisations to help: create jobs, develop rural businesses, support the rural economy.
•    There are six priority areas for the Cotswolds LEADER investment (listed in order of priority): support micro enterprises & farm diversification, boost rural tourism, increasing farm productivity, increasing forestry productivity, provide culture & heritage activity and provide rural services.
•    LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly-funded by Defra and the European Union. It stands for ‘Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale’ which translates as ‘Links between the rural economy and development action’.
•    Visit the Cotswolds LEADER website at www.cotswoldsleader.org.uk