LEADER programme funding

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Ten projects from across Aberdeenshire have received funding totalling nearly £100,000 in the latest round of grants from the Rural Aberdeenshire LEADER Programme.

LEADER is a rural development funding programme financed by the European Commission and the Scottish Government, and administered locally by the Rural Aberdeenshire Local Action Group (LAG).

The LEADER programme reopened early in April after receiving an extra allowance from the Scottish Government. A strong group of applications were received for Round 14 and the LAG committee was pleased to support ten new projects.

The LAG meeting was held earlier this month at Port Erroll Public Hall in Cruden Bay, which has been recently reopened after a major refurbishment funded by the LEADER programme in 2010.

The LEADER programme awards grants to projects which demonstrate innovation, sustainability and have a broad community benefit. Since the current programme began in June 2008, 124 projects have been supported with a combined LEADER award of around £4million.

The latest round has seen a total of £95,892 awarded to ten projects based across Aberdeenshire. They include projects such as a community rugby coaching programme, a folk festival in Deeside, a promotional book on Aberdeen-Angus Cattle and an innovative broadband-enabling project.

Aberdeenshire Council Head of Economic Development, and Aberdeenshire LAG chair, Belinda Miller, said: “I am delighted that Aberdeenshire LEADER is once again able to support community projects in the area. In the nine months since the last LEADER awards were approved, it has been clear how important the programme is for rural development in Aberdeenshire.

“The successful Round 14 applications demonstrate the inclusive strategy which LEADER delivers. The projects will engage with a wide range of beneficiaries and aid the delivery of rural Aberdeenshire’s strategic priorities of revitalising communities and encouraging a progressive rural economy.”

LEADER coordinator, Vicky Thomson, said: “It is most welcome that we now have funds to commit to new projects in 2012. There has been strong interest from community groups to bring forward projects that will contribute to the sustainability of local communities.

“As with previous funding rounds, there is a good mix of projects from events to community facilities and outdoor activities. We look forward to seeing these projects coming forward in the months ahead.”

Details of all approved projects to date and information on the LEADER programme are available on the Rural Aberdeenshire LEADER website: www.aberdeenshireleader.org.