LEADER programme springs into action

Ken Brown - newly appointed LEADER Programme ManagerA programme to provide financial support for rural businesses has officially opened for business. The ‘Fieldfare’ Local Action Group - which successfully submitted a bid for more than £2 million in ‘LEADER’ funding to the South East England Development Agency – has now welcomed on board a newly recruited Programme Manager.

Ken Brown (pictured), the officer who will be responsible for managing the scheme across the Winchester and East Hampshire districts, brings extensive experience of funding programmes and rural communities from his previous post with The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.  This means that the Fieldfare Local Action Group is now ready and able to start allocating money to projects which bring new opportunities to the rural areas of the two districts.

Cllr George Beckett, Leader of Winchester City Council, is looking forward to seeing the LEADER funding making a real difference:

“LEADER funding is there for the benefit of those who live and work in our countryside, and who face a whole raft of challenges at any time, but particularly during a time of recession.  I would encourage all our rural businesses to think ahead during these difficult financial times, and to consider applying for LEADER support.  The Local Action Group is poised and ready to receive expressions of interest.”

Fieldfare Local Action Group has been awarded LEADER funding from SEEDA on behalf of Defra and the EU.  The funding comes from the Rural Development Programme for England, and is aimed at assisting rural businesses, especially farming and forestry related businesses, and the communities around them.  The money is available to applicants in the East Hampshire and Winchester districts, apart from the urban centres of Winchester city, Alton, Whitehill-Bordon, Petersfield and Horndean.

Andrew Gordon, Chair of the Fieldfare Local Action Group, is pleased to be a part of this exciting scheme:

“We have a significant sum of money available, and we want every penny to count in making Winchester and East Hampshire more sustainable places to live.  We are all looking forward to seeing some excellent work as a result of the LEADER funding stream.”

Find out more information about LEADER funding on www.winchester.gov.uk/leaderfunding or contact Ken Brown on 01962 848 588 or email kbrown@winchester.gov.uk