With €5 million on offer in LEADER funding across West Cork from 2016 – 2020, co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development with an additional €1.25 million provided by Cork County Council’s Community Development Initiative Fund, now is the time to apply to the LEADER West Cork programme.
The LEADER programme supports local and community projects across a diverse range of themes including rural tourism, enterprise development, rural towns, access to broadband, basic services targeted at hard-to-reach communities, rural youth, protection and sustainable use of water resources, protection and improvement of local biodiversity and the development of renewable energy.
Cork County Council’s West Cork Local Community Development Committee is the new LEADER Action Group and will manage the LEADER programme under ‘LEADER West Cork’. At the official commencement of the programme, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Séamus McGrath commented, “After a lengthy and rigorous competitive bidding process, the awarding of the LEADER contract to Cork County Council confirms the quality of the programme that has been prepared for the people of West Cork.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, has also welcomed the establishment of LEADER West Cork and the additional funds approved by Council, “Our communities were concerned about the shortfall in funds available through the LEADER programme. As a result, Cork County Council is one of only a handful of Local Authorities across the Country to have provided supplementary financial support to the LEADER programme.”
The LEADER programme will be rolled out by a consortium of the West Cork local action groups together with three local development companies operating in the Council’s West Cork division, namely Avondhu-Blackwater, SECAD and Comhar na nOileán. The programme, officially launched on December 1, 2016, is currently open and seeking formal calls for Expressions of Interest for suitable projects.
Chair of LEADER West Cork, Finbarr Harrington has also praised the innovative approach adopted in the roll out of LEADER, “This is a new LEADER programme for West Cork. While the budget has been reduced from previous programmes and with LEADER funding cut off over recent years, communities can be assured of the determination of LEADER West Cork to process applications as swiftly as possible.”
For more information including contact details, application forms and all the latest LEADER news for West Cork visit www.leaderwestcork.com or contact 1800 200 545.