The South Cork Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) – a Committee of Cork County Council – has been confirmed as the new LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) for South Cork and the programme will officially commence on the 1st December 2016.
The new group – which will be branded “LEADER South Cork” – will manage the allocation of €3.8 million in LEADER funding across South Cork for the period 2016-2020. In addition Cork County Council will provide a supplementary Community Development Initiative Fund of €1m to support the LEADER programme which will bring the total funding available to communities in South Cork to € 4.8 million.
The programme will be rolled out by a consortium of the South Cork LAG and the four incumbent local development companies operating in the South Cork Council division namely; South and East Cork Area Development, Avondhu-Blackwater Partnership, Údarás na Gaeltachta and IRD Duhallow.
The LEADER Programme supports local and community projects across a diverse range of themes including; Rural tourism, enterprise development, rural towns, access to broadband, basic services targeted at hard-to-reach communities, rural youth, protection and sustainable use of water resources, protection and improvement of local biodiversity, and development of renewable energy.
The programme is co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
The Chairman of LEADER South Cork, Cllr Michael Hegarty commended the Group, its four implementing partners, and Cork County Council for the fresh and innovative approach that it has developed for the rollout of LEADER in the region.
Cllr Hegarty added: “The available budget is greatly reduced from previous LEADER programmes. However there is a sense of real urgency in rolling out the new programme. Communities have been cut-off from LEADER funding over recent years and there is a pipeline of projects ready to be assessed. Communities can be assured of the determination of LEADER South Cork to issue contracts for available funding as speedily as possible”.
Mr. Tim Lucey Chief Executive of Cork County Council also welcomed the commencement of the LEADER programme and commended the elected councillors of Cork County Council for providing additional support to the programme stating “Our elected members listened to the communities of Cork County who were concerned about shortfalls in funding to the LEADER programme and responded by making an additional €3.5m of Council funding available across Cork County. We are one of only a handful of Local authorities across the country that have backed-up the LEADER programme in this way.’”
Councillor Hegarty said that LEADER provides a real opportunity to invest in local communities in South Cork and that he is “looking forward to seeing a continuation of the great work that has been carried out under previous LEADER programmes by the existing Local Development Companies albeit this time around with an overall significantly reduced budget.”
Cllr. Hegarty added that the South Cork LEADER Programme will be officially launched on the 1st December and will include formal Calls for Expressions of Interest for suitable projects.
Contact details, application forms and all the latest LEADER news and are available to view on www.leadersouthcork.com