A new LEADER programme for the period 2023 to 2027 will bring €5.3m to County Wicklow.
This investment will support locally-led rural development and enterprise projects over the next five years.
The LEADER programme accepts applications based on projects which improve:
- Rural Tourism
- Enterprise Development
- Basic Services Targeted at hard-to reach communities
- Rural Youth
- Protection and Sustainable use of Water resources
- Local Biodiversity
- Renewable Energy
The LEADER programme is administered at a local level by 29 Local Action Groups (LAGs) which contain local representatives from the community, public and private sector. Each LAG is responsible for selecting and awarding LEADER funding to projects in each county.
Local Development strategies (LDSs) must be prepared in each county and all eligible LEADER projects must be aligned with the priorities of the LDS.
The LEADER programme in Wicklow has been administered by County Wicklow Partnership for the past 30 years and in that time in excess of €30m has been paid out for thousands of community projects.
The new LEADER programme has two separate stages which are incremental in approach.
Stage 1 is an expression of interest (EOI) by any group formed that wishes to deliver the LEADER programme in Wicklow. The closing date for receipt of EOIs is the 16th of DECEMBER 2022, and these must be submitted via email only to LEADER2327@drcd.gov.ie. All applications will then be assessed and the successful applicants will be invited to proceed to stage 2.
Stage 2 involves the successful applicants preparing a Local Development strategy (LDS) to outline how they plan to deliver LEADER in the County. Funding will be provided to help with the costs associated with developing the LDS.
Cathoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, acknowledged this continuing LEADER investment in the county which will benefit hundreds of local community projects over the next five years.
The Chairman of County Wicklow LCDC, Cllr Pat Kennedy, stated that LEADER is all about Community and Local Development and the County has many fine examples of projects that have benefited from LEADER investment. He welcomed the new LEADER programme and encouraged local groups to put their thinking caps on and develop potential applications for funding.
The Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Mr Brian Gleeson, acknowledged the significant allocation of €5.3m into Wicklow and paid tribute to Minister Humphreys and her officials in their success in securing an overall LEADER package of €180m for the country.