The Essex Rivers LAG covers an area which stretches from Fingringhoe in the north to Great Wakering in the south and from Navestock in the west to the Essex coast.  The funding is part of the Rural Development Programme for England and, as such, projects bidding for support must be rurally located, within the designated area.

Individual projects can bid for amounts between £10,000 and £100,000, with typical grants making up 25-40% of total project costs.  The programme will run until 2020 and allocated funding must be spent within the next five years. 

The funding is awarded under the LEADER programme, which gives power to local people to determine their own priorities and decide on the success of individual project bids.  The Essex Rivers Local Action Group (LAG) has 29 members, drawn from the private, public and voluntary sectors.  The LAG will determine which projects are awarded funding, subject to endorsement by Defra.
The programme will be managed locally by Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE), a well known Essex charity, based in Feering, which has more than 85 years experience of supporting rural communities in the county.

Nick Shuttleworth, Director of RCCE, said “This is the first time that there has been a successful bid for LEADER funding which will benefit an area entirely within the county of Essex.  RCCE is thrilled to be a part of this process and is looking forward to working with new partners to deliver much-needed support to rural businesses to give a boost to the rural economy.”  

Robert Davidson, Chairman of the Essex Rivers LAG, said “The members of the LAG have worked hard to achieve this funding for Essex and hope that it will make a real difference.  The funding is aimed at small rural businesses, to help them to develop, expand and diversify, bringing benefits to the local economy.”  

Rural businesses are defined by their location within the LAG`s boundary and, whilst farming and land-based businesses stand to benefit, the funding may also be accessed by any business or voluntary organisation which meets the eligibility criteria for location, size and type of project. 

The programme is expected to be open for bidding in June and anyone wishing to submit a project for consideration will need to complete an expression of interest.  For further information, or to register to receive an expression of interest form when available, please contact RCCE on 01376 574 330 or e-mail