The LEADER Initiative (Liaisons entre actions de developpement de l’économie rurale – Links between actions of rural development ) was established by the European Commission in 1991 and is a method of mobilising and delivering rural development in local rural communities. LEADER uses a ‘bottom-up’ or community led local development approach to rural development. Through the framework of local development strategies with all funding decisions being made at a local level by Local Action Groups (LAG) LEADER can and does make a real difference to the daily lives of people in rural areas.
The Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 as a whole includes a range of both on and off farm support measures to support the sustainable development of rural Ireland. The programme is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government administers the LEADER element of the Programme which aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas and to encourage diversification of economic activity in rural areas. It seeks to bring about positive change helping to support and sustain rural areas for the better.
There is an overall programme complement of €250 million for the 2014-2020 period which is made up of €235 million in respect of the main element of LEADER coupled with €15 million for two Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine artisan food schemes.
Programme Themes and Sub-Themes
The Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 is split into three themes that reflect the overarching needs of rural Ireland. They reflect the key challenges facing rural Ireland, with regard to economic recovery, employment creation, tackling social exclusion and reducing the impact of global warming and resource depletion.
Each theme contains a number of sub-themes, which are considered the key areas in need of the greatest support and have the greatest potential to promote the sustainable development of rural communities.
A brief overview of each sub-theme is provided in the LEADER 2014-2020 sub-section above.
For more background information on LEADER click here to access the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Website.