LEADER funding

About LEADER funding

The LEADER fund has now closed to new applications.

LEADER funding is part of the Rural Development Programme for England. It supports projects that create jobs, business growth and benefits to the rural economy.

All projects must support one or more of the six LEADER priorities: These are to:

  • support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
  • boost rural tourism
  • increase farm productivity
  • increase forestry productivity
  • provide rural services
  • provide cultural and heritage activities

Local Action Groups

Local Action Groups (LAGs) help to deliver the funding to businesses, communities, farmers, foresters and land managers.

LAGs include people from the local community and both the public and private sector.

Each LAG decides which projects they will fund in their area.  The four in Lincolnshire are:

  • Coastal Action Zone
  • Lindsey Action Zone
  • Wash Fens
  • Kestevens

They have awarded a total of £5.9 million to local projects under the 2015-2020 LEADER scheme.

Alternative funding

To find grants, loans and support for your business, visit Business Lincolnshire.

To find grant schemes for your community project or organisation, search the Lincolnshire Funding Portal.

Before you apply

The LEADER fund has re-opened until 9 August 2020. 

This funding call is for the purchase of capital equipment only. We will not accept the construction of buildings, development of marketing materials and landscaping. 

The guidance in this call overrides the advice given in LEADER Applicant Handbooks:

  1. You must be able to complete your project by 31 December 2020. This means you must order, deliver and install all items by this date
  2. We will notify you of the outcome of your Expression of Interest by 19 August
  3. If approved, we will invite you to submit a full application within four weeks
  4. We will notify successful applicants of their grant award by 30 October

Funding is competitive. We look for projects that meet the national and local priorities for funding. This means we will not award grants automatically to all applicants.

We will consider applications on their individual merits. We may not have the funds to support all approvable applications. If so, we will offer funding those scoring best in a clear and transparent appraisal process.

Funding advice

The amount you can apply for depends on the size of your business, the type of project and the costs involved.

Grants are typically limited to 40% of the project’s total eligible costs. However, some types of projects can get higher rates.

You can use other public money to pay for eligible costs but only up to the 40% limit. You must pay the remaining project costs from private sources like savings or a bank loan.

How to apply

To apply, email to [email protected].

You must include:

  • your name
  • your telephone number
  • a brief description of what you will use the grant for (for example, the purchase of a CNC plasma cutter and press brake)
  • the postcode for your project

We will check that your proposal fits the scheme. If it does, we will send you an applicant handbook and an expression of interest form.

We may call you for an informal chat if we need more details about your project.

You must return your completed form to [email protected] by midnight on 9 August.

What happens next?

If we ask you to submit a full application, we will invite you to a webinar. This is to help with the development of your application. A choice of dates will be available.

Your full application will involve a rigorous assessment of your project. You will need to submit a comprehensive collection of supporting evidence including:

  • Three like-for-like quotes for every item of expenditure over £1,500. Two like-for-like quotes for items under £1,500. Each quote must be based on the same specification (ie using the same materials and measurements and for items that have the same capacity and functionality)
  • The last three years' financial accounts for your business and any linked businesses. For a new business, your latest tax returns or an opening statement from a qualified accountant
  • A quarterly cash flow forecast for the period of project delivery. A profit and loss forecast for three years following completion of the project works. We will provide a spreadsheet template for these.
  • Evidence that match-funding is in place (for example, a loan agreement, offer of funding or bank statements for "own funds")
  • Research to show there is real need and demand for what you want to do

Time and costs incurred in the completion of your application are at your own expense and risk.

We make grant payments in arrears. You must bankroll your project and pay for the items in full before you submit a grant claim. You must submit evidence to verify this (for example, a bank statement or overdraft facility).

If we approve your project, you must:

  • trade for five years from the financial completion date
  • create all outputs as detailed in your full application 

Failure to comply could result in clawback of the grant.