Cotswolds LEADER Key Criteria

If you think you may be eligible to apply, then please take a closer look at this section which provides further information on eligibility.  More detail is provided in the Guidance for Applicants Handbook.

Am I eligible to apply for a grant?

There are 6 priority areas for the Cotswolds LEADER investment, grants could be available if you meet one or more of these:

  • Micro and small enterprises and farm diversification: supporting rural businesses and the establishment of new rural enterprises to secure strong rural economic growth, particularly those developing innovative approaches or techniques and those critically dependent upon the Cotswolds environment for success.
  • Rural tourism: Supporting the implementation of the Cotswolds Destination Management Plan to make the most of the tourism assets in the area. Improving delivery of services and development of new sustainable tourism business activity, to secure improvements to the environment.
  • Culture and heritage: Supporting local initiatives, which draw on the heritage and traditions of the Cotswolds, to create jobs and growth through an approach that celebrates the culture and enhances the sustainability of the area.
  • Rural services: Strengthening communities by developing their ability to address more local service need
  • Increasing farm productivity: Supporting improvements to farming and forestry businesses to enhance competitiveness and build resilience, better managing resources in farm and forestry settings to improve efficiency and reduce overheads, increased soil conservation and improved productivity to support business mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
  • Increasing forestry productivity: Supporting the return of neglected woodlands into productive management to stimulate and develop forestry and woodland product markets 

Key criteria and principles

Below is list of key criteria and principles  which are often overlooked by applicants. Please do not hesitate to contact the programme team if you require any further advice or clarification.

1. Cotswolds LAG will prioritise funding for new and innovative projects which do not lead to direct competition/displacement of current business activities. Grant funding must be used to address a clear market gap, rather than to compete more effectively with existing businesses in the LAG area.

2.All projects must make a measurable contribution to the development of the local economy (with clear evidence provided on project completion). This would usually be in the form of job creation or businesses supported, but examples could also include outputs such as the development of a new tourism attraction or increased visitor numbers.

3.Business applicants must be able to demonstrate direct job creation, as a result of LAG funding, and may also be required to show that turnover/profit has increased as a consequence of grant.

4. LEADER is only able to fund items purchased using hire purchase or asset finance where the applicant has full ownership of the item prior to submitting a claim.

5.Please contact the programme team if you have received more than €200,000 (currently £170,000) in the last three fiscal years as there may be state aid implications. This usually only applies when funding activities of a commercial nature.

6.LEADER funding is predominantly for capital purchases. Funding is intended to act as a pump-primer resource where investment leads to sustainable long-term economic benefits. Projects which are reliant on continued grant support are ineligible.

7.All projects must provide clear evidence of need and support from key stakeholders, local businesses and residents.

8.LEADER funds are designed to support activities which could otherwise not take place. For example, if a business is already able to expand/develop its activities without grant intervention (i.e. – by using bank loans or own funds), there would be no justification for grant intervention. LEADER is considered to be a funder of last resort.

9.LEADER can only contribute towards projects and activities which are outside of any mainstream or EU funded programmes. Funding for activities such as training and education are therefore ineligible.

10.LEADER is only able to fund renewable energy projects which are ineligible to claim feed-in tariffs (FITS) or renewable heat incentives (RHI’s).

LEADER is a competitive demand-led grant programme, and all applications must include a strong business case for investment with timely evidence of market rationale, need for grant, project plan – delivery and outputs, accounts, like-for-like quotations and technical information. As a result, there is no guarantee that your project will be approved for funding.

Please contact the programme team, if you are unsure of your eligibility or have any further questions.

For more information go direct to the Rural Development European Commission website

This project is part financed by the  European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2014-20: Europe investing in rural areas