Wexford Local Development (WLD) has announced that €300,000 of LEADER Programme grant aid is to be made available for community activities throughout the county during the coming months.

This funding will be targeted at three separate categories – the development of walking trails, community arts and culture projects and youth facilities; each of which will receive an allocation of €100,000.

(Click on this link for access to Expression of Interest form – Expression of Interest Form Community February 2017)

leader2014-2020Brian Kehoe, Chief Executive of Wexford Local Development, said that the announcement of this grant aid is a big opportunity for urban and rural communities throughout Co. Wexford.

The new LEADER Programme will see a substantial investment of several million euro into community organisations in Co. Wexford between now and 2020. The different types of initiatives which we are offering grant aid to were identified as part of a widespread public consultation process which we undertook to draft the LEADER business plan for Wexford, the Local Development Strategy.

We provided significant support to the development of community based walking trails under the last LEADER programme and the Wexford Walking Trails group which was established in that LEADER programme is now to the forefront of developing and promoting walking trails in our county. Our coastlines and mountains provide fantastic natural amenities throughout Co. Wexford and tourists are now starting to recognise the walking trails which have been developed around them. We see huge potential to develop a niche tourism product selling rural Wexford as an attractive destination for walking trails and this allocation of €100,000 for the further development of walking trails will benefit both tourist and locals alike.

Wexford has one of the most vibrant community based arts and culture scenes on the country and we want to encourage its further development. Wexford’s arts and culture is unique and ranges from traditional to the most contemporary possible. We want to play our part in recognising and encouraging community activists who are making county Wexford a centrepiece of arts and culture.

One of the clearest messages we received in our LEADER public consultations was that Wexford residents wanted to see more facilities being developed to engage with our younger residents and to provide social, training and recreational outlets for them. We took on board the message we received and have made services for young people a key part of the new LEADER programme in Wexford. Our initial offering of €100,000 in grant aid for youth facilities will benefit young people throughout the county.

I want to encourage any community based organisation who is involved in the development of walking trails, arts and culture or youth facilities to take advantage of the opportunity we are presenting them and to submit an expression of interest for LEADER grant aid. This allocation of €300,000 is a significant investment into the community sector in Co. Wexford and we want to see it going to exciting projects which will benefit the county.

Wexford Local Community Development Committee in partnership with Wexford Local Development has responsibility for the delivery of the new LEADER Programme in the county under the remit of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs.

In a change from the rolling application process that applied during previous LEADER programmes, the new Programme has competitive targeted calls for applications from different sectors at specific times.  This competitive process aims to ensure that only the best and most worthy projects will be approved for grant aid.  Grant aid rates of up to 50% and 75% are available for capital costs, depending on whether the project has an economic element to it.

In order to be considered for funding, applicants must complete a competitive two stage application process:

  1. Complete an Expression of Interest Form (Expression of Interest Form Community February 2017) to determine if the proposal meets the objectives of the Wexford Local Development Strategy and complies with the LEADER Programme Operating Rules.
  2. Applicants who are successful at Stage 1 will be invited to submit a full application with detailed costings and a business plan.

The expression of interest form for community based walking trails, arts and culture projects and youth facilities is now available to download from the “forms & publications” section of the Wexford Local Development website (Expression of Interest Form Community February 2017).  The closing date for receipt of completed forms is 12 noon on Tuesday 7th March 2017.

LEADER Staff (L-R) Eileen Dake, Séamus Doran, Marian Furlong, Brian Kehoe, Tom Bermingham & Helena Dempsey
LEADER Staff (L-R) Eileen Dake, Séamus Doran, Marian Furlong, Brian Kehoe, Tom Bermingham & Helena Dempsey
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