The LEADER programme, co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, is an initiative supporting rural development projects at local level to revitalise rural areas and create jobs.
With total funding of €13.93 million allocated to Cork County by the Department of Rural and Community Development, the programme, delivered by six Local Development Companies working in partnership with Cork County Council, has supported a total of 249 projects across Cork County.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley, commented ‘This scheme supports community projects across a diverse range from rural tourism, like Ballyhass Lakes or e-bike hire for the Midleton to Youghal Greenway, to enterprises like Bó Rua farm and many more. Helping also to fund the renovation of community centres, playgrounds and other community amenities they play a very important role in community development. Implemented by Local Action Groups, sub-groups of our Local Community Development Committees in North, South & West Cork, they work at a local level and recognise where supports will yield maximum benefit to that community. It’s heartening to see the results of these collaborative efforts coming to fruition.”
The Local Development Companies responsible for implementing the LEADER programme are Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership CLG, Ballyhoura Development CLG, IRD Duhallow CLG, SECAD Partnership CLG, Udarás na Gaeltachta and Comhar na nOileán CTR
Three of the LEADER programme projects brought to completion include a family run enterprise in North Cork – Bó Rua farm, a building project with Carrigaline Men’s Shed and the renovation of the Community Hall in Ballinadee.
At Bó Rua Farm, Norma and Tom Dinneen have developed a state-of-the-art facility to make cheese. Construction of the Cheese Dairy began in early 2018 with grant assistance of €149,997.95 under the Enterprise Development sub-theme.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, noted, “The Bó Rua enterprise epitomises the role of LEADER, adding value on the farm and creating jobs in rural areas. Working closely with Avondhu Blackwater Partnership and North Cork LCDC, Norma and Tom Dinneen partnered with Cork County Council’s North Cork Local Enterprise Office and Teagasc to develop their product. Carrigaline Men’s Shed demonstrates an excellent collaborative approach to the development of a LEADER project, with a strong community vision while the completion of renovations at Ballinadee Community Hall shows the dedication and community spirit of the local area and the co-operative approach taken to fundraising and working with the LCDC and Cork County Council. These examples of LEADER funded projects underline both Cork County Council’s cohesive approach to rural development and the range of supports available to rural entrepreneurs and community organisations in Cork County.”
A further €500,000 was allocated to North Cork Local Action Group in 2019 as it was one of the top ten highest performing of 29 Local Action Groups delivering the rural development programme across Ireland.
NORTH CORK Local Action Group
The LEADER North Cork Local Action Group (LAG) managed the allocation of €3.8 million in LEADER funding across North Cork for the period 2014 – 2020 plus the additional €500k as referred to above.
The total number of LEADER Projects approved as of 31st December, 2020 in North Cork is 114 to a total value of €4,250,344 with a total of 58 of these paid out in claims, value €2,106,139.
Allocations ranged from €180k right down to €3k with examples of projects including:
- Renovations and upgrades of community centres in Castlelyons, Kilshannig, Conna & Mitchelstown. Refurbishment of playgrounds e.g. Millstreet, Mourneabbey & Kanturk, a digital hub feasibility study by Buttevant Muintir Community Council plus facility upgrade at Charleville Incubation units.
Under the theme of Enterprise:
- The Construction and decommissioning of a Cheese Dairy at Bo Rua Farm Kilworth plus ReproDoc Ltd, research into sustainable farming
Under Rural Tourism:
- Ballyhass Lakes – Enhancement of facilities and Equipment
- The installation of a new all-weather competition arena at the International Equestrian Competition Centre at Ballindenisk House, Watergrasshill was supported by the LEADER programme. The 140m x 70m all-weather arena will be utilised at both international eventing competitions as well as the many national competitions hosted at the venue. The new arena will also be available for regional and national training, from grassroots to High Performance Olympic athletes.
SOUTH CORK Local Action Group
The LEADER South Cork Local Action Group (LAG) managed the allocation of 2,803,477M in LEADER funding across South Cork for the period 2014-2020.
The total number of LEADER Project approved as of 31st December 2020 in South Cork is 68 to a total value of €2,814,773. Of this, 23 claims have been processed to the value of €910,544.
Allocations ranged from €183k right down to €3k with examples of projects including:
- Renovations and upgrades of community centres in Courtbrack, Clondrohid & Inniscarra plus Carrigtwohill Community Council CLG Construction of Phase 2 of Carrigtwohill Community Campus Redevelopment plus playground developments at Ballinagree, FON Ballymacoda & Dungourney.
- Men’s Sheds including Cloyne for purchase of a shed and Carrigaline towards an element of their shed development.
Under Rural Tourism:
- Coiste Forbartha Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh Cuideachta-Faoi-Theorainn Ráthaíochta, – Museum of the Irish language and Gaelic Revival, Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh
- Leahys Open Farm – Provision of Castle Playground and Passenger Trailer
- Cobh Summer Swing – Purchase of Marquee for use by community groups
- MY Greenway Enterprise Ltd – Electric Bikes for hire in Youghal
- Knocknagree Community Association – Provision of community hot-desks
WEST CORK LAG
The LEADER West Cork Local Action Group (LAG) managed the allocation of €3,691,756M in LEADER funding across West Cork for the period 2014-2020.
The total number of LEADER Projects approved as of 31st December, 2020 in West Cork is 67 to a total value of €3,682,787 with a total of 38 of these paid out in claims, value €1,243,437.
Allocations ranged from €244k right down to €3k with examples of projects including:
- Renovations, Extensions & Upgrades to Community Centres in Ballinadee, Gaggin, Lehanmore, Ballinascarthy, Whiddy Island – construction of new community hall, Castletownbere Development Association -feasibility study for a community building, playground developments in Innishannon & Dunmanway
- Courtmacsherry Rowing Club – Clubhouse Phase 2
Under Rural Tourism:
- Comharchumann Chléire Teo. – Virtual Tour of Fastnet Lighthouse
Under Rural Youth:
- Committee for the “Clonakilty Community Youth Centre” – Clonakilty Community Youth Centre – New Development
- Murlach Adventures Ltd – Equipment Upgrade, Safari Rib Tours and Floating Pontoon
- Totus Leisure T/A Smugglers Cove Adventure Centre – Summer Tubing Park
- Glenilan Farm Mercantile – Food Tourism Facility
- Wild Atlantic Glamping – Bere Glamping facility