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Communities leading on development of Local Area Plans for LEADER Programme

23rd July 2015

Communities across the Highlands are in the process of developing Action Plans outlining local priorities for the LEADER 2014-2020 Programme expected to launch in late Autumn 2015.

LEADER is an EU Fund aimed at promoting economic and community development within rural areas. The fund is community led with decision making on local development priorities taken by local groups. The programme will be delivered at a local level through seven Local Area Partnerships: Caithness; Sutherland; Skye; Wester Ross, Strathpeffer & Lochalsh; Lochaber; Inner Moray Firth North; and Inner Moray Firth South.

Steering groups have been set up in each Local Area Partnership area comprising of individuals interested in community development, and those representing community groups and/or key business sectors. The Steering Groups have begun the process of developing Local Area Action Plans by determining local priorities.

Once Local Area Actions Plans have been drafted, these will be presented to the Strategic Local Action Group (LAG) responsible for the overall management and delivery of the Highland LEADER Programme. Fiona Cameron, LEADER Programme Manager said "Local Area Action Plans will be reviewed to ensure they will support the delivery of the Local Development Strategy for Highland. The Strategy, which was developed through a process of extensive community engagement, was submitted to the Scottish Government as part of the LAG's bid to secure EU funds."

Steering Groups will also consider the skills, knowledge and experience required on each Local Area Partnership to deliver the LEADER Programme. Nominations will be sought from individuals interested in facilitating the delivery of the LEADER Programme. Frances Gunn, Vice Chair of the Strategic LAG said "The structure of the LEADER Programme in the Highlands is directly responsive to the large geographic of Highland and its high number of distinct communities. The LEADER Programme aims to further empower local communities by devolving budgets and decision making to Local Area Partnerships."

Further updates will be made available on the Highland LEADER Programme website
www.highlandleader.com

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