There is now an opportunity for rural communities, organisations and businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber area to benefit directly from an initiative called LEADER, which is supported by the European Union and the UK Government. The term LEADER comes from the phrase - 'Liaison entre actions de développement de l’économie rurale' which can be translated as 'Integrated Rural Development'.
LEADER aims to assist rural communities to improve the quality of life and economic prosperity in their local area. LEADER has operated in different forms since 1991 but now makes up the fourth axis of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). This will last from 2007-2013, but may be extended.
LEADER in the Region
In common with other Regional Development Agencies across the country, Yorkshire Forward is overseeing the current RDPE and LEADER programmes locally. Following a regional competitive bid, there will be a number of Local Action Groups responsible for putting the LEADER element into practice. 'Coast, Wolds, Wetlands & Waterways' is the Local Action Group (LAG) aiming to develop a LEADER approach across most of the Rural East Riding and adjacent parishes in North Yorkshire. If successful in its bid, the LAG will start in earnest from Autumn 2008, using the initial funding to attract additional finance and resources for a range of programmes of activity.
The budget for socio-economic activity in the Yorkshire & Humber, through Axis 1, 3 & 4 below is some £9 million per annum. Around £2.25million of this will be spent annually through the LEADER programme. Yorkshire Forward anticipates that successful LAGs will have around £300,000 to spend on project activity each year.
The Local Action Group (LAG)
The LAG is integral to the LEADER approach. The main aim of the LAG is to promote and reinforce the value of cooperative and partnership working by bringing together organisations and individuals who have an interest in encouraging and supporting socio-economic development in rural areas. It must be a locally led approach to rural development, involving representatives from public, private and voluntary and community sectors, with at least half of its members drawn from the non public sector. Representatives have to live or work in the area and come from a diverse range of communities of interest. There is also an ‘Accountable Body’ appointed to ensure efficient and transparent administration and auditing of public funds. East Riding of Yorkshire Council will fulfil this role for the Coast, Wolds, Wetlands & Waterways LEADER LAG.
The LAG is also responsible for ensuring the LEADER approach of ‘bottom-up’, innovation, area based strategic partnerships and networks is fully acknowledged and implemented throughout.
The Local Development Strategy (LDS)
All the LAGs have to draw up a Local Development Strategy (LDS), related to national and regional strategies, but firmly based on local priorities. The Coast, Wolds, Wetlands & Waterways (CWWW) LAG chose the key theme of Rural Heritage & Culture, where appropriate linked to service provision, with business growth/opportunities cross cutting. The key elements to define activities to be funded are:
Landscape (natural, cultural & biodiversity)
Customs and traditions
Arts & creative industries
Place based/sense of pride – economic rural activities.
These will include a range of initiatives to encourage innovation, enterprise and skills building so that community capacity is strengthened for the long term.
The above all contribute to the stated overall aim of the Coast, Wolds, Wetlands & Waterways programme: -
To utilise the unrealised potential of the area’s heritage and culture to stimulate local vibrancy, encourage enhanced pride in place, and thereby improve the area’s economic performance and social sustainability
Linkages With Other Programmes
In addition the LEADER LAG will be expected to contribute to the three other themes under the RDPE, known as ‘Axes’:
Axis 1 To improve the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector by means of support for restructuring, development and innovation
Axis 2 To improve the environment and the countryside by means of support for land management
Axis 3 To improve quality of life in rural areas and encourage the diversification of economic activities
The LAG will also try to help schemes under these axes to benefit from the integrated approach and partnership working, and make referrals to linked funding such as the Rural Enterprise Investment Programme (REIP). Coast, Wolds, Wetlands & Waterways will also be used as a way to encourage participation in other national and European schemes such as the cross-border, trans-national and inter-regional cooperation networks and exchanges.
How to Get Involved
The aim of LEADER is to involve a good cross section of rural interests drawn from business, agriculture and horticulture, voluntary and community sectors, public authorities and those with relevant expertise or skills. This particular LEADER programme will also be looking to draw in any groups working on culture or heritage matters.
If you think you can help make LEADER a success do contact the Rural Programme Team to discuss how to be involved and register for mailings and information.