Who can apply, what can be applied for?

To help in your application please read our Local Development Strategy. This was prepared as part of our application to ensure the West of England was successful in applying to be a LEADER fund holder and describes our ambitions to create employment, encourage innovation, educate, help reduce poverty and mitigate climate change, in a geographical area often overlooked by larger investments.

Key criteria

Under this fund the key criteria are:

  • You should be a business, social enterprise or community organisation
  • The project should be in a defined rural part of the West of England (although the applicant may be based elsewhere)
  • The project should create jobs and business growth
  • Your project fits one of the 6 LEADER priorities and also the West of England local priorities
  • You can meet the match funding requirements

To find out more go to the applications page.

What is the rural area of the West of England?

There is an agreed definition for eligible rural areas. In general though for the West of England we include all the areas outside the two cities of Bristol and Bath together with the major towns. However we have included Thornbury, Paulton, Yatton and Congresbury.

See the DEFRA approved Area Map or contact the programme team for further details.

National and local priorities

The six national LEADER priorities of generating jobs and growth are:

  • Increasing farm productivity
  • Micro-enterprises and small enterprises including farm diversification
  • Rural tourism
  • Rural services
  • Culture and heritage
  • Increasing Forestry and woodland productivity

To help meet these national priorities a set of core objectives and policies have been developed for the West of England LEADER Programme to secure and create jobs through:


An expanding, future proofed food, farming and horticultural sector


Rural micro and small businesses making the most of the goods, services, diversity and traditional richness of the West of England’s rural landscape


A mature and successful tourism infrastructure based on the local distinctiveness


Well connected, healthy, active and resilient rural communities, where people are able to mutually support each other and develop creative solutions


A diverse and vibrant range of culture and heritage resources based on people, communities, traditions, properties and landscapes


An innovative and sustainable forestry (and woodland) sector in the West of England


Maximising the benefit from the close linkages between the cities and the rural areas


A thriving social enterprise sector underpinning the rural economy

The national priorities and local policies will be used to assess applications to the fund. To find out more download the LEADER Applicant Handbook


Document links:



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