Joint Press Release on behalf of Wexford Local Development and Wexford Local Community Development Committee – 23 September 2016.

At a series of meetings throughout the county during the past two weeks attended by in excess of 400 people, Brian Kehoe, CEO of Wexford Local Development outlined that LEADER grant aid of almost €8million would be invested in innovative community and enterprise projects throughout the county between now and 2020.

Details of funding priorities as well as an overview of the new application process were outlined at the meetings. Brian Kehoe advised that approx. €2m in grant aid was available for niche tourism projects with a further €2m for other enterprises including artisan food. Meanwhile, the community sector will benefit from almost €3m and a budget of almost €400,000 would be available for rural environment projects.

Wexford Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) in partnership with Wexford Local Development (WLD) has responsibility for the delivery of the new Programme in County Wexford under the remit of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs. The LCDC, which is chaired by Cllr Tony Dempsey will be the decision making body for all LEADER funding allocations.

Following a public consultation process completed earlier this year, a number of key objectives which focus on Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Rural Environment have been agreed. These objectives reflect the key challenges facing Co Wexford with regard to economic recovery, employment creation and tackling social exclusion.

The objectives reflect the needs of the people of Wexford. They cover the key areas in need of the greatest support and are sufficiently broad and flexible to facilitate a wide range of projects throughout the county, including the Wexford town area which was excluded from previous LEADER Programmes.

In a change from the rolling application process that applied during previous LEADER programmes, the new Programme will have competitive targeted calls for applications from different sectors at specific times throughout the duration of the programme. These targeted calls with pre-defined budgets will assist in ensuring that only the best and most worthy projects will be approved for grant aid. Such calls will be publicised well in advance.

WLD will initially invite “expressions of interest” and then work with eligible applicants to guide them through the process. Completed applications which must be received by the given deadline will be assessed by an Evaluation Committee and a final decision regarding funding will then be made by the LCDC.

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