Convener highlights successful funding approach to European audience

Published: Wednesday, 26th November 2014

More than 70 projects across the Borders have benefited from the latest LEADER programme of European funding.

The 2007-2013 LEADER and Fisheries Local Action Group programmes in the Scottish Borders have provided considerable economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities. This has been possible thanks to the use of the Community Led Local Development (CLLD) approach.

There is a need to extend this approach to the other main European Structural Funds, such as the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund, which could in turn help increase the opportunities for communities and projects in the Scottish Borders to access European funding.

This is an idea which has been promoted by our Convener, Councillor Graham Garvie, who is a member of the European Union Committee of the Regions (COR) and has been leading a COR commission on CLLD.

He presented evidence to the EU’s European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels recently, and said that CLLD has the potential to truly empower local communities.

Councillor Graham Garvie

“CLLD is an instrument designed to engage with local people and local communities and to empower them to develop bottom up initiatives that can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

He added that CLLD has enabled local government in Scotland to press for a very strong local development dimension of the EU funding programmes for the 2014-2020 period.

How does CLLD work?

The CLLD approach encourages partnership working to tackle local needs, and involves not just residents and potential beneficiaries from any project, but also voluntary and community organisations working alongside the private and public sectors.

Future funding

We submitted our Local Development Strategy for Scottish Borders LEADER and Maritime Fisheries Funds 2014-2020 to the Scottish Government in September, with a decision on the LEADER funds anticipated before the end of the year and on the fisheries funds in spring 2015. The 2014-2020 LEADER programme, which will continue to support local, innovative new projects which address rural issues, is expected to open for applications in the spring of 2015.

The 2007-2013 LEADER programme in the Scottish Borders closed for project activity at the end of July 2014, with final claims for funds submitted by the end of August. Almost 90 per cent of the £3.3million of committed funds has been claimed to date, with 57 of the 71 projects allocated funds now completed.

Further information

The Scottish Borders LEADER Local Action Group has overall responsibility for the delivery of the LEADER Programme in the Scottish Borders. This group consists of 25 local partners that represent a wide range of rural community, business, public sector and environmental interests. The group is responsible for the development and implementation of the LEADER programme strategy and business plan and for programme level monitoring.

For case studies and details of successful projects visit the Scottish Borders LEADER website.