There are 14 LEADER Local Action Groups in the South East delivering funding under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) with a combined grants budget of £19.3m. So far they have awarded grants to nearly 1000 projects supporting the rural economy and rural communities.
Grants totalling more than £18 million have been awarded to farms, small businesses and rural communities across the South East, which combined with match funding, have facilitated a total investment of more than £54 million.
74% of the LEADER funding is helping economic growth in the South East by improving the competitiveness of farming, forestry and small rural businesses and promoting sustainable tourism. More than 2,000 rural businesses, including social enterprises, are benefitting from LEADER funded projects that have helped create 715 new jobs, with a further 1,700 jobs safeguarded.
LEADER is a bottom-up, community-led approach to the delivery of RDPE funds. The planning, decision making and implementation at a local level is carried out by a Local Action Group (LAG), made up of private, public and community sector volunteers representing a wide range of experience and knowledge of local rural issues. There are more than 250 volunteers involved with the 14 LAGs in the South East. These LAG members play an important role in encouraging innovative responses to rural issues and helping to improve life in rural areas.
SOUTH EAST LEADER ECONOMY OUTPUTS – DECEMBER 2012
|New jobs created||715|
|Existing jobs sustained||1,700|
|Existing businesses supported||2,227|
|New business start ups||81|
|Farm based projects||275|
|Forestry based projects||122|
SOUTH EAST LEADER COMMUNITY BENEFITS – DECEMBER 2012
|Rural population benefitting from improved services & facilities||766,000|
|New & existing village halls & community centres supported||90|
|Community shops supported||32|
|New & existing recreational & educational facilities supported||107|
The remaining LEADER funding will be awarded by April 2013 and further South East LEADER progress reports will be published before the RDPE closes in December 2013.
The Rural Development Programme for England aims to: safeguard and enhance the rural environment, improve the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sectors and foster competitive and sustainable rural businesses and thriving rural communities. RDPE is administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.