New locally led EU funding programme launches to support Cornwall’s rural economy

One of the first tranches of funding to be made available through the new programme of EU Rural Development funds will offer Cornish rural businesses and communities an exciting opportunity to develop and grow.

£7.3 million is available from the Rural Development Programme for England via its LEADER delivery framework and will be delivered across Cornwall through four Local Action Groups (LAGs).  These groups comprise of private, public and voluntary sector representatives in the four LAG areas of West Cornwall, Coast 2 Coast, Atlantic & Moor and South & East Cornwall. 

The main priorities for the locally led funding are to support: increased farm productivity, farm diversification, micro and small enterprise development, rural tourism, provision of rural services, cultural and heritage activity, and increased forestry productivity.

The funding is weighted to support micro and small business enterprises including start-ups.

Grants can support a wide range of activities but each LAG has identified evidenced based priorities for support in their area.  These priorities are set out in each area’s Local Development Strategy and accordingly, in response to local evidence of need, not all activity can be supported.  Applications will be assessed on a case by case basis by the relevant Local Action Group.

Depending on the project, each group will normally offer grants of between £2,500 and £35,000 to fund up to 50% of project costs.  In exceptional cases larger grants can be offered and, where deemed appropriate by the Local Action Group, not-for-private-profit organisations may be able to access higher levels of grant support.  Projects must deliver activity that results in business/community development and growth including creation of jobs, increased efficiency and benefits to the wider rural economy.

The application process is in 2 stages comprising of an outline application which, if eligible, will be followed by a more detailed full application.

Julian German, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture said “This European funding can reach into our communities to  assist micro businesses and small enterprise development. The money will make a real difference across Cornwall and I urge people to get involved and see how this money can help their business grow.”

Each Local Action Group has a Project Coordinator on the ground to assist applicants and has now officially launched the programme, opening their doors to applications.

Sandra Rothwell, chief executive of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to tap into EU funding at grassroots level and help deliver locally-led growth in rural areas. The Local Action Groups are there to help businesses and communities make the most of this investment so please get in touch with them with your ideas.”

The LEADER Local Action programme in Cornwall will be managed on behalf of the LAGs by the Cornwall Development Company (CDC) and is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and DEFRA with additional support being provided by Cornwall Council. 

David Rodda, Rural Delivery Manager for CDC stated “We have been working with the LAGs to develop their proposals since DEFRA announced the opportunity presented by LEADER funding.  We are excited about entering into the delivery phase and look forward to supporting the LAGs to achieve the aspirations outlined in their strategies.”

To find out if your project is eligible for funding, visit



Julian Rand, Chair of the West Cornwall Local Action Group said, ‘we have worked hard to secure the next round of Local Action funding for businesses and communities in Cornwall.  The WCLAG looks forward to entering the delivery phase where Local Action funds are invested in a way that will make a real difference to the rural economy of West Cornwall.’

Emma Kehyaian West Cornwall LEADER Project Coordinator said, ‘Local Action in Cornwall has great potential to offer locally led investment opportunities.  I look forward to discussing project ideas with applicants and supporting the WCLAG with their valuable work.’


Jonathan McCulloch, Chair of the Coast to Coast Local Action Group said, ‘This is a really exciting opportunity for businesses in the Coast 2 Coast area as we have not had LEADER here before.  The LEADER programme covers not only the area from Kehelland to Perranporth and Mylor Bridge to Gorran Haven but includes Truro too.  The Coast 2 Coast Local Action Group comprising representatives from the private, public and voluntary sectors is keen to receive applications which will help develop the local rural economy’.

Josyanne Thatcher, Coast to Coast LEADER Project Co-ordinator said, ‘I am really keen to help businesses, farmers and organisations through the application process and bring forward schemes to help the rural economy in the Coast 2 Coast area’.

NORTH CORNWALL RELEVANT QUOTES (Newquay-Bude-Bodmin-Launceston):

James Platts, Chair of the Atlantic and Moor Local Action Group said, “This is an excellent opportunity for Cornwall and I encourage business owners to consider growth opportunities while this support is available. The Atlantic and Moor Local Action Group has an excellent cross sector representation and is very keen to see projects that will boost Cornwall’s rural economy.”  

Jon Teague, Atlantic & Moor LEADER Project Coordinator said, “I look forward to engaging with applicants in North Cornwall and working closely with the LAG volunteers.”

SOUTH AND EAST CORNWALL RELEVANT QUOTES (St Austell Bay-Roche- Callington-Saltash areas):

Kim Spencer, Chair of the South and East Cornwall LAG said “This is an exciting opportunity for all the micro and small businesses in our area to progress their plans for growth with our support. Delivering new, sustainable jobs is the key part of this round of European funding and we know that we can deliver this successfully. There is such a tremendous, thriving entrepreneurial spirit in our area that we want to do our best to support it and help this key part of Cornwall to flourish.”

Caroline Hanlan, South and East Cornwall LEADER Project Co-ordinator said “I am really looking forward to working closely with the LAG and the rural business community in the South and East Cornwall area, and helping applicants develop great projects that will directly benefit the local rural economy”

LEADER Project Coordinator Contact Details:

Emma Kehyaian, West Cornwall LAG, [email protected], 07973 813803

Josyanne Thatcher, Coast 2 Coast LAG, [email protected], 01872 326735

Jon Teague, Atlantic & Moor LAG, [email protected], 01872 326751

Caroline Hanlan, South & East LAG, [email protected], 01872 326750

 What is LEADER?

LEADER is an established method of delivering rural development funds at a local level. It uses local knowledge to promote a joined-up ‘bottom up’ community-led delivery of RDP grants. In England this is being delivered by Local Action Groups (LAGs) and it targets rural areas with specific needs and priorities.

Leader information on the DERFA website

 What are Local Action Group?

A Local Action Group brings together individuals from local public, private and civil societies, who have been delegated powers of strategy and delivery. Through an agreed Local Development Strategy, LAGs are able to tackle important local priorities in a locally specific, innovative and participative way.

 Three Local Action Groups that followed the LEADER approach to deliver elements of the 2007-2013 Rural Development for England (RDPE) programme achieved great success by providing over £7m of investments at grass roots level.  These investments created jobs, supported start-up businesses, got communities to work together to improve their area, offered training opportunities and improved rural services.  In addition, nearly £3m of additional investment was attracted into the local communities, making a total investment of £10m.

Local Action website:

 Cornwall Development Company

Cornwall Development Company is the arm’s length economic development company of Cornwall Council.  

For information about Cornwall Development Company, contact:

Kirsty Miles
01872 322924
[email protected]

Friday 6 November 2015