The Cotswolds LEADER Programme

We are open for applications
Please contact us
if you wish to apply for LEADER grant funding.

Grants are available from £5,000 to £50,000.

For exceptional projects with high job outputs, grants from £50,000 to £100,000 will be considered.

This higher amount is only available under Priority 2 “Support for micro & small Businesses and farm diversification”. The maximum grant rate is capped at 40% of the eligible project costs (some exceptions allowing grants of 80-100% apply see Handbook).  

We do recommend completing and emailing through a Project Ideas form to start with as this can help us understand what your project is about.  Download Project Ideas form >.  
Grants are awarded on a first come first served basis.

Short Guides to LEADER Funding

Applications can be made by farmers, growers, foresters, other local rural businesses and rural community organisations who are in the Cotswolds LEADER area, provided they and any linked businesses have fewer than 50 FTE employees, and turnover does not exceed €10m (about £7.9 million).  

The following downloadable documents are extracts from the LEADER Handbook, which provide a better understanding of the types of projects LEADER may be able to support under the six themes available:

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.

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.

If you believe you may be eligible to apply for funds after reading the FAQs, Guidance Notes pages and other information on this website, then please contact the Programme team to express an interest in applying.  

Application and guidance documents

Please click on the links below to download each document

LEADER Handbook for Applicants (v1.4)

> Map of the Cotswolds LEADER Area  & Postcode Search

LAG Executive Group Members

The Principal outputs required for each grant application include number of full-time equivalent (FTE) permanent jobs created and number of businesses or holdings supported. 

An Explanation of LEADER Outputs 

Jobs Created per £ Grant Allocation Target 

Please note this is a two stage application process

(1) Firstly, we will ask you to complete an Expression of Interest form (referred to as an Outline Application in the Handbook).

(2) If successful, you will then be invited to complete the Full Application forms.

Being invited to a Full Application does not guarantee that the application will be successful or that the grant level requested at outline stage will be offered. It is an invitation to the next stage of the application process and means that based on the information you have provided so far, we think your project may be eligible for scheme funding.

At this stage you will also be required to provide accurate supporting documents including valid quotes, business accounts, evidence that match funding has been secured, planning and other permissions have been granted (if applicable).

The full application process is expected to take at least 3-4 months depending on how quickly applicants are able to complete the full application forms as these will then undergo a series of checks and appraisals before being presented to the LAG Executive at one of the scheduled 6-8 weekly meetings for a decision.

All applicant businesses and potential projects must be located within the Cotswolds LEADER eligible area, and all applicants must read the guidance for applicants handbook that details essential eligibility criteria.

Additional downloads:

Cotswolds LEADER Delivery Plan Summary 

LEADER Local Development Strategy for the CotswoldsPlus area 

European Commission's Agriculture and Rural Development Policy for 2014-2016

Latest EU funding announcement:


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