Thursday, 14 August 2014

Funding available to support rural jobs

LEADER is a community-led European funding programme that supports rural development.

In the last LEADER programme (2007-20013) the AONB was covered by the Sowings SEEDS Local Action Group (LAG).   The LAG enabled £1.6m investment in 35 projects including community shops, renewable energy, butchery and wood processing initiatives.

Hindon Community Shop – Copyright Carolyn White, Barn near Sixpenny Handley – Copyright Mike Boss, Artisan Produce, Salisbury Farmers Market – Copyright Carolyn White, Woodland Industry, Barford St Martin – Copyright Stephen Ward

The next LEADER programme will start in January 2015 and LAGS will be able to award grants to suitable projects that support economic growth. The AONB will be covered by three LAGs in the coming programme covering Wiltshire and Somerset, Dorset and New Forest.
Please contact the LAG that covers your area if you have any questions, if you’d just like an informal chat about an idea for a project or about joining the Local Action Group.

Each LAG is currently drafting its bid to secure the funding.  Please take the time to look at the draft bids when they become available for consultation on the LAG website and let the programme mangers know if have any comments.


The Heart of Wessex Local Action Group, area incorporates the high quality environment of south Wiltshire, south Somerset, and parts of Mendip. It includes the settlements of Wilton, Tisbury, Mere, Wincanton, Bruton, Castle Cary, and Crewkerne. It also includes the larger town of Frome. 
The main aim of the Heart of Wessex of Wessex LAG is:
To act as a catalyst for supporting the development of vibrant, independent and interdependent rural communities based upon strong economic growth.

It will do this by:
•    Generating a diverse and sustainable rural economy and support entrepreneurial activities(targeting micro and small businesses, farming and farm diversification, forestry and woodland and rural tourism enterprises)
•    Realising the benefits from the high quality natural environment, culture and heritage
•    Sustaining community facilities and services

The Heart of Wessex LAG provides an opportunity to stimulate economic growth at a local level and make wide ranging and sustainable changes within the area.

Contact:  Sarah Dyke –Bracher, Heart of Wessex Programme Manager
Tel: 07826 907361
E mail:


The Northern Dorset Local Action Group covers North and East Dorset and the Sherborne area.
Contact: TBC


The Hampshire part of the AONB is covered by the New Forest Local Action Group
Contact: Sally Igra, New Forest RDPE (Leader) Programme Manager
Tel: 023 8028 5588
E mail: