Members Login

Essex Rivers LEADER Funding

The Funding Programme

LEADER is an established method of delivering funds under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), so that they benefit local projects.  Funding is available for the period 2015-20.  LEADER funding is accessed through ‘Local Action Groups’ (LAGs), which are area-based, with populations up to 150,000. There are 80 LEADER groups within England covering approximately 85% of the rural population in England.

Essex is covered by four LAGs which each deliver funding under the LEADER programme:

Essex Rivers covers parts of Colchester, Chelmsford, Braintree, Brentwood, Rochford and Maldon local authority areas. See map for further details.

Heritage Coast covers a large part of Tendring district.

Wool Towns covers parts of Colchester and Braintree local authority areas.

Eastern Plateau covers Uttlesford and a part of Epping Forest local authority areas.

Who will LEADER fund?

LEADER will fund farmers, foresters, smallholders, rural businesses (micro and small) and rural communities with the aims of creating jobs and developing rural businesses.

Your project should have a total value of not less than £25,000 and we are able to fund up to 40% of projects.  All funding decisions are made by the Local Action Group, which is a group of local business people and community leaders (approx 28 members currently).  This is a competitive bidding process and only those applications which receive the highest scoring will be offered funding.  In Essex Rivers we have been allocated £1.8 million until 2020.

What will LEADER Fund?

Projects must meet at least one of the national LEADER priorities and must fit with the specific local priorities of the Essex Rivers LAG which are as follows:

  • Grow rural small and micro businesses to create employment
  • Develop the rural tourism offer
  • Develop the market for added value local food and drink
  • Build on the area’s high quality and diverse nature assets to promote visitor spend in the economy
  • Develop a clear identity for the rural assets of the area to attract visitors and investment.

Application Process

You will need to check whether you are in an area covered by a LAG. This information is on the Defra website  or you can call the team at Essex Rivers who will let you know which LAG area you come under.

The application process consists of an Outline Application, which will be available on our website as soon as possible.  Before you complete this, you will need to speak with the team to discuss your project.  We can provide guidance with the whole application process.

More Information

Visit the Essex Rivers website –

How to contact us

Initially contact Beverly Davies, Programme Manager to discuss your project -                  Tel 01376 574330 or 07494 509730

Alternatively contact Neil Harper, Programme Officer –                      Tel 01376 574330