The first tranche of funding for LEADER Co-operation projects has been launched today by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys.
LEADER Co-operation is a specific element of the Rural Development Programme designed to encourage Local Action Groups (LAGs) to work together on a joint project which is of mutual interest to each participating area.
Co-operation must involve a partnership of two or more LAGs from different areas – within Ireland or internationally - coming together to jointly deliver projects that benefit their respective local communities.
The first tranche of €3 million under the LEADER Co-operation strand is available through an open call for applications across the LEADER themes which cover Economic and Enterprise Development, Social Inclusion and the Rural Environment.
Projects that are shown to deliver real added value for their local communities will be prioritised for funding.
Commenting on the programme, Minister Humphreys said, "I am delighted to be able to provide access to this new funding stream for LEADER, which for many years has played an important role in supporting rural development in Ireland and across the rest of the EU. Co-operation is a great way to get access to new ideas, learn from other projects based either in Ireland or abroad, stimulate and support innovation, and benefit from economies of scale."
She added, "From today, LEADER Local Action Groups can apply for funding under the first tranche of €3 million of Co-operation funding. A total of €10 million will be provided for LEADER Co-operation projects in the period to 2020 and further calls will be announced in due course. This funding is in additional to the €220 million already allocated between each of the 28 LEADER sub-regional areas in Ireland."