Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2014-2020

LEADER is a source of funding available to farmers, growers, foresters, rural businesses and communities to help secure a sustainable future for the rural economies of Kent, Surrey & Sussex.

The LEADER Programme is a bottom-up, community-led approach to the delivery of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which is funded by Defra and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funds.  The planning, decision making and implementation is done at a local level, carried out by Local Action Groups (LAGs) which are made up of private, public and community sector volunteers with a wide range of experience and knowledge of the local rural issues. 

The six national priorities for LEADER funding are;

  • Support for increasing farm productivity
  • Support for micro and small enterprises and farm diversification
  • Support for rural tourism
  • Provision of rural services
  • Support for cultural and heritage activity
  • Support for increasing forestry production

Throughout all the priorities the emphasis is on providing jobs and growth within the rural economy.

To date over 50 projects in Kent, Surrey and Sussex have been supported and funding of nearly £2million awarded, to assist with the growth of rural businesses and the creation of approx.100 jobs. Projects funded so far have included a new farm shop and café, mobile sheep handling and performance monitoring equipment, a grape press, timber harvesting equipment, a gin distillery, farm diversification projects, a Force Drying Woodchip System for a Woodfuel Hub and a farm shop extending into the wholesale production of pies and pasties.

LEADER is a rolling funding programme with a minimum grant award of £2,500 and a maximum of up to £100,000 depending on LAG area, (which can be increased in certain circumstances), at a rate of 40% of eligible costs for commercial projects.

We are open for applications up to the end of March 2019, so if you are looking to create or expand a business or have a good project idea and think the funding could help you, please get in touch for more information:

WEST KENT:                          Caroline Lingham, westkentleader@sevenoaks.gov.uk 01732 227282 www.westkentleader.org.uk

MID KENT / EAST KENT:       Huw Jarvis, huw.jarvis@kent.gov.uk 03000 417104 www.leaderprogrammekent.org.uk

EAST SUSSEX:                      Don Cranfield, leader@plumpton.ac.uk 01273 892031 www.warrpartnership.org.uk

WEST SUSSEX:                     Richard Chalk, rdpeleader@westsussex.gov.uk  0330 22 23845 www.westsussex.gov.uk/rdpeleader

SURREY:                                Cathy Miles, ruralsurreyleader@surreycc.gov.uk 0208 541 8724 www.ruralsurreyleader.org.uk