Community and voluntary groups involved in conservation, tourism or heritage in County Clare are being invited to participate in a workshop focusing on the process and benefits of applying for funding under the EU LEADER Rural Development Programme.
Clare Local Development Company will host the event, which takes place at the Woodstock Hotel in Ennis from 9.30am to 1.30pm on Saturday 4th February 2012. Registration for the event closes on Wednesday 1st February.
€1.8m was paid out to a wide range of community and enterprise projects in Clare during 2011 under the current LEADER Programme, bringing to €3m the amount paid out locally since 2009. The actual amount approved in this period was €5.5m. CLDC will allocate more than €5m to local projects and initiatives during the period 2012-2013, while it expects to pay out €2.5m to pre-approved projects during 2012.
Commenting on the background to the workshop, Sue Targett, Social Inclusion & Community Development Manager said: “CLDC has recently embarked upon a new support programme for community groups in Clare. We are keen to seek out and to provide support to a broad range of community projects in the areas of heritage, conservation and tourism in 2012 and 2013, and enable community and voluntary groups to avail of LEADER funding.”
She continued: “The aim of the upcoming workshop, entitled ‘Applying for LEADER funding – the process and benefits explained’, is to help community groups to become more familiar with the significant benefits of LEADER, to facilitate a better understanding of LEADER requirements, and also to support more communities to potentially avail of rural development funding towards improving tourism, conservation and, or heritage projects, activities and facilities in their local areas.”
“Over €5 million in LEADER funding is available to support and fund a wide variety of projects in Clare in 2012 and 2013. CLDC is keen that new community projects and initiatives are encouraged and supported, firstly through groups gaining a better understanding of LEADER and secondly, so that more groups are in a position to avail of and make successful tourism, conservation and heritage funding applications during 2012 and 2013”, Ms. Targett added.
Alan Hill Tourism and Maureen Ward Consulting have been engaged by CLDC to facilitate the ‘upcoming workshop in conjunction with the CLDC LEADER team. Maureen and Alan have between them over 40 years’ experience of working on successful tourism, heritage and rural development initiatives.
Maureen Ward explained that the workshop repented an ideal opportunity for community groups to better understand what is required in seeking LEADER funding and how to access it.
She noted: “We will be providing advice and guidance during 2012 to a number of local groups to help and support eligible LEADER projects to application stage, so that their project idea can become a reality through LEADER funding.”
“CLDC aims to support up to twelve new projects in community tourism, heritage and conservation over the next 12 months. Therefore, group that have a project idea, which is tourism, environment or heritage related, should consider attending the workshop on the Saturday 4th February 2012 at the Woodstock Hotel, Ennis. Registration is essential”, Ms. Ward concluded.
LEADER is the EU initiative for Rural Development that provides approved Local Action Groups with public funding (EU and national) to implement plans for the development of their own areas. Under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme, funding of €425.4m is being provided for LEADER projects, 55% from the EU and 45% from the Irish Exchequer. The funding represents the largest ever package for rural development in Ireland.
Groups wishing to register should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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