Letter From The Editor
After what seemed like an endless winter of storms with names, there’s beginning to be some blue skies and sunshine outside the windows of the D&G LEADER team office. With Spring on the horizon the LEADER programme is finally able to start allocating funding – hopefully adding to the feeling of new life that this season brings.
We still don’t have any projects to focus on in this newsletter as we haven’t been through the first round of applications yet, but we’re getting there!
Far from being idle during the Winter months, the LEADER team have been busily preparing for the first round of funding decisions by getting out into the communities and making people aware that LEADER is back, bigger than ever before. This has included both formal presentations as well as one-to-one meetings with potential applicants.
If you’re not sure how your project might fit with LEADER or you’re not sure exactly what LEADER is, our team are always happy to speak with you by email, over the phone or in person so do get in touch.
It’s been a rocky road to get here but now that all the dotting and crossing of paperwork has been signed-off we are raring to go. It’s time to start getting behind projects and spending some money!
Nicola Hill, LEADER Programme Manager
D&G LEADER Funding Roadshows
The D&G LEADER team hosted a number of presentation events across the region delivering information and offering a chance to ask questions about the LEADER programme. From Langholm and Thornhill at the end of January to New Galloway and Stranraer in early February the team were on-hand to discuss the new programme and meet with some potential applicants on a one-to-one basis.
These roadshows had a great turnout of both familiar faces and new ones, as well as highlighting some really interesting potential projects. The team were pleased to see so much support for not only the LEADER programme but rural communities as a whole and we are really looking forward to working with all of our applicants to bring the best value to the region.
With the changes to the LEADER programme this time around we felt it was necessary to provide as much information and support as possible to all applicants who might be interested in LEADER funding. Part of this involved hosting a number of workshops with those applicants to guide them through the application process and remind them that the LEADER team are on-hand to support them at every stage.
These workshops were initially only open to those who had submitted an Expression of Interest which passed an eligibility check by the LEADER team and were in a position to complete an application during this round. The reason for this was the vast number of Expressions of Interest that had been received during that period – we simply had so much interest in the new programme that there weren’t enough hours in the day to meet with them all!
Any eligible Expressions of Interest which were not dealt with during this phase will be automatically carried forward into the next round and our Project Officers are already in open dialogue with them to make sure that everything is under control.
The Expression of Interest website is always open, so even if you’ve missed this deadline there are still plenty more to follow. Submit your Expression of Interest here.
Scottish LEADER Conference – Aviemore
The D&G LEADER team were invited to attend the Scottish LEADER Conference alongside representatives from the rest of the 21 LEADER areas across Scotland to share best practice, learn, engage and network. The broad objectives of the conference were to:
1. Raise participants’ awareness and understanding of the areas that are new, different or require particular attention in the new programme.
2. Build the knowledge and confidence of FLAG/LAG members and staff in delivering the new programme.
3. Encourage networking between the different LDS areas.
4. Strengthen the link between the Managing Authority, Paying Agency and the FLAG/LAGs.
This event took place at the Macdonald Resort in Aviemore and was an excellent opportunity for us to build our networks, strengthen our knowledge and engage directly with our Scottish Government colleagues.
Armed with newly reinforced confidence in the both the application process and our own abilities, the team are fired-up and ready to get stuck into helping applicants navigate the nuances of European Funding.
Find out more about the LEADER Conference 2016 on the Scottish Rural Network website or on Twitter using #ScotLEADER16