Funding of over €10 million has been made available to Tipperary in the new LEADER programme.
While the allocation has been welcomed, it represents a cpnsiderable reduction on previous levels and new guidelines for applying for grants now apply.
The LEADER (Rural Development Programme) was officially launched by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys.
She stated that the programme will focus on the three key themes of Economic Development, Enterprise Development and Job Creation: Social Inclusion; and Rural Environment.
The total budget nationally for LEADER 2104-2020 is €200m of which €10.1m has been allocated to Co. Tipp.
The programme will be rolled out in County Tipperary by the Tipperary Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), a sub-committee of Tipperary County Council.
The programme will be delivered at local level by South Tipperary Development Company (STDC) and North Tipperary LEADER Partnership (NTLP).
In its role as Implementing Partner, STDC will cover the geographic areas of the Borough District of Clonmel, the Municipal Districts of Tipperary/Cashel and Carrick-on-Suir. NTLP will cover the geographic area of the Municipal Districts of Thurles/Templemore and Nenagh.
Charles Stanley- Smith, Chairperson of Tipperary LCDC expressed his delight at the imminent commencement of the LEADER programme in Tipperary.
He stated that the new LEADER programme for Tipperary will bring much needed funding into the county for the development of enterprise and tourism, community and social inclusion and environmental projects with an indicative funding allocation of €10.1m.
He went on to say that under the previous LEADER programme, significant community infrastructure development had been delivered to rural Tipperary.
He said this new LEADER programme would focus on maximising the use of that infrastructure for the benefit of everyone in their rural areas.
Chairperson of South Tipperary Development Company Martin Quinn and Chairperson of North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Jim Finn,welcomed the announcement of the commencement of the new programme.
“Our board and staff are really looking forward to rolling out the programme in association with Tipperary LCDC. We have received so many enquiries over the past number of months it is nice to be able to respond to these. We see challenges ahead with a much reduced budget for the county but it is incumbent on us all to make the best use of our limited resources for all of our communities.”, they said
Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council Siobhan Ambrose said that the new LEADER Programme will be a vital support to rural Ireland in terms of enhancing the competitiveness of the local economy and local enterprises, managing natural resources in a sustainable manner, and ensuring the balanced development of rural areas.
The budget for the programme is significantly less than the previous programme and there are some changes to the programme. For example, the programme will be delivered through a mixture of “targeted calls” and rolling (continuous) applications. Before making an application for funding, promoters of potential projects must submit an “Expression of Interest” (EOI) form to either STDC or NTLP, as relevant - contact STDC (www.stdc.ie) on 052 7442652 or NTLP(www.ntlp.ie) on 067 56676