Rural development grants available to farmers, foresters,
community enterprises and rural-based businesses.
LEADER is funding to improve the rural economy and quality of life for people living and working in the North Wessex Downs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I in the LEADER area?

The LEADER area is based on the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) area, but has been changed a little since the last Programme. Check the map page to see if you fall within our boundary for funding.

How much can I ask for?

The maximum grant will normally be £100,000 and the percentage contribution might range from 25% - 85%.

Can you fund revenue projects?

LEADER is predominantly a capital funding scheme, however there is some funding allocated to revenue elements of projects. Salaries cannot be funded.

What businesses are eligible?

Micro and small rural businesses within the North Wessex Downs LAG area are eligible. For clarification of what constitutes a micro or small business please see the North Wessex Downs LEADER Applicant Handbook.

As a shop start up, can you fund stock?

No. Anything funded through LEADER must be recoverable in 5 years' time.

Can we apply for funding before we have spent it?

No. Any expenditure must be agreed in advance. In addition the LEADER programme funds claims on receipt of paid invoices. This will have an implication for your project's cash flow.

Is LEADER funding appropriate for feasibility studies?

Yes. However the study must be on something that, if feasible, would still qualify for LEADER funding. Successful feasibility studies are not guaranteed further LEADER funding.

What are the deadlines for applications to be received?

Decision meetings normally take place at least quarterly, but we will give you clear guidance on application timeframes when we talk to you about your project idea and the application process.

Do I need to have match funding for my project?

Yes. All funding needs to be in place, for example savings, loans or other grants.

My project covers a period of 5 years, will LEADER support it over all years?

No. The maximum period for LEADER funding is 3 years.

What paperwork is required post agreement approval?

You will be sent an agreement contract that sets out terms and conditions, for example how much grant you will receive and deadlines for claiming. You will also need to complete a claim form that includes a template for a progress report, a spreadsheet to detail the amounts and a declaration form.

Bank Rolling

Part of the scheme requirements are that the agreement holder can only claim grant when the goods and services have been paid for. In addition receipted invoices are required as part of the claim. This means that the applicant needs the facility to cover the cost of the project before any grant money is received. The time between claiming grant and receiving often takes between 6-8 weeks. This will have implications for your business's cash flow. The banks however, will often view LEADER contracts in a positive light and can be used to help secure a short-term loan.

Does LEADER only pay for capital items?

The design of the grant scheme is more suited to capital items and it is investment in capital that tends to achieve long-term tangible benefits. LEADER will not support on-going running costs or salaries. However, there is a possibility of supporting short-term revenue items but these would normally be associated with the start-up of a new project. The maximum duration for any funding is 3 years and for revenue payments to be supported there must be a clear exit strategy that shows how the benefits will be long-lasting or how the project will continue without having to perpetually rely on grant aid.

Is the grant means-tested?

When considering whether to support projects and at what rate of grant the Local Action Group will look at the strength of the underlying business, the additional profit that will be generated as result of the investment and the wider benefits that will be secured as a result of the investment. If the case for public intervention is weak and the wider benefits are thought to be low then the case for funding will not be a high priority.

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