What is Cotswolds LEADER Programme?

Cotswolds LEADER Programme LeafletThe acronym ‘LEADER' derives from the French words "Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l'Économique Rurale" which means, ‘Links between the rural economy and development actions'. 

What separates it from other funding programmes is that it is delivered locally rather than nationally, with decisions on how and where the grant money is spent being made by an appointed Local Action Group (LAG) of key representatives from various organisations in the local area.

LEADER is a grant fund which could bring significant benefit to small businesses and communities in the Cotswolds.

Download the Cotswolds LEADER Programme Leaflet >

How much funding will be available?

The Cotswolds Conservation Board, together with its partners submitted two bid options for the Cotswolds area from 2015-2020. The allocation of LEADER funding across England was a competitive process based on the submission of a Local Development Strategy (LDS); only those places with the best LDS were chosen. The LDS clearly sets out the local issues facing rural businesses and identifies what needs to be done to address them.

Defra and the Rural Payments Agency supported the larger proposal and have allocated £1.998m for the Cotswold LEADER programme.

Grants are potentially available from £5000 to £50,000. The grant intervention rate will be typically limited to 40% of total eligible project cost, although some not-for-profit projects could potentially receive a higher amount. 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.

LEADER is a competitive demand-led grant programme, and all applications must include a strong business case for investment with evidence of market rationale, need for grant, project plan, accounts, like-for-like quotations and technical information. 

To find out more about the programme view our FAQs and Guidance Notes pages, or contact our Programme team.

Other grant schemes are available supporting rural development in the Cotswolds more information can be found on our Grant Funding in the Cotswolds page.


> Cotswolds LEADER Programme Leaflet

> Project Ideas Form

LEADER Handbook for Applicants (v1.4)

Cotswolds LEADER Delivery Plan Summary  

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