LEADER is a community led approach to local development funded through Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. It supports locally identified initiatives that seek to address locally identified needs and challenges. It is delivered in each region by a Local Action Group (LAG), which in our case is Westmeath Local Community Development Committee (WLCDC).
Westmeath LCDC work in partnership with Westmeath County Council (Financial Partner) and Westmeath Community Development (Implementing Partner). Westmeath Community Development provides direct support to potential applicants seeking funds under the LEADER Programme.
Under the LEADER PROGRAMME 2014-2020 funding of €7,384,205 was provided for the geographically area of County Westmeath.
LEADER Themes & Subthemes
Transitional LEADER Programme (1st April 2021 to 31st December 2022)
The Transitional LEADER Programme came into effect on 1st April 2021 and runs until 31st December 2022.
A total of €70 million has been allocated to support rural communities and private enterprises over 2021 and 2022. The breakdown is as follows:
€65 million is being allocated to support locally-led rural development across the 29 Local Action Groups (LAGs)
€3 million is being allocated to support the LEADER Cooperation measure which encourages rural areas to work together on joint projects with mutual benefits for each participating area
€2 million will be allocated to prepare for the next LEADER Programme.
A key focus of the Transitional LEADER Programme will be on building capacity within communities which have not received LEADER funding to date and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme will also support:
• Job creation,
• Foster and encourage entrepreneurship,
• Support projects which address the climate agenda, digital transformation, and
• Encourage rural communities to build on their existing strengths and assets.
Other changes to the LEADER Programme include an increase in the maximum rate of aid for enterprises and commercial projects from 50% to 75%.
The €70 million is being financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the European Union Recovery Instrument (EURI) and Exchequer funding.
Indicative Target budgets for Westmeath are shown below:
Theme Sub-Theme Indicative Target Budget Percent of Allocation
Economic Development 1.1 Rural Tourism €225,000 20%
Economic Development 1.2 Enterprise Devel. €180,000 16%
Economic Development 1.3 Rural Towns €225,000 20%
Economic Development 1.4 Broadband €45,000 4%
Social Inclusion 2.1 Basic Services €232,805 21%
Social Inclusion 2.2 Rural Youth €22,500 2%
Rural Environment 3.1 Water Resources €45,000 4%
Rural Environment 3.2 Biodiversity €45,000 4%
Rural Environment 3.3 Renewable Energy €112,500 10%
(Revised LEADER allocation April 2021)
The European Union’s Recovery Instrument (EURI) is 100% funded by the EU and will be programmed through Ireland’s Rural Development Programme.
EURI funding will help support the recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis and will assist in paving the way for a resilient, sustainable and digital economic recovery. A total of €20 million of this funding is being allocated to the 29 Local Action Groups who deliver the LEADER programme.
LEADER is part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme that is co-funded by the EU, which operates a locally-led, bottom-up, approach to meeting the needs of local communities and businesses. The programme supports private enterprises and community groups in rural areas.
Westmeath LCDC are responsible for identifying and helping to develop local projects which support the themes of Economic Development (including enterprise development and job creation), Social Inclusion and Rural Environment.
The EURI Funding can be utilised to support the following areas (which are not exhaustive):
1. Supports to rural businesses seeking to reach new markets, expand, innovate or diversify in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Community based projects that seek to address emerging challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting greater social inclusion.
3. Support for new and innovative projects in the areas of climate change, environmental protection and the green, bio and circular economy in Westmeath.
4. Maximising the potential of broadband and the digital economy in communities, including through skills development and building awareness and usage of available remote working facilities.
Projects availing of EURI funding must be approved by Westmeath LCDC on or before 31st December 2022 and completed by 31st December 2023.
*EURI allocation for Westmeath is €671,291*