Time is running out to apply for rural project grants

Released on September 25, 2017

Grants of up to £100,000 are currently available to farmers, foresters, businesses and community groups for projects that support the local rural economy.

Individual projects can apply to the Oxfordshire LEADER programme and, under exceptional circumstances, they may qualify for even more money.  

The LEADER programme aims to support a wide range of rural activities including: farm productivity and diversification, forestry productivity, tourism, community services, heritage and culture and small business development. 

There’s an Oxfordshire LEADER event on Tuesday 10 October at Standlake Village Hall to explain what funding is available for rural projects in and around Oxfordshire including the LEADER Programme, Growth Programme and Countryside Productivity Scheme.

The event will take place on Tuesday 10 October at Standlake Village Hall (OX29 7SB) – from 2-4pm. More information can be found via the website www.oxfordshireleader.org.uk

Elizabeth Gillespie, Chairman of the Oxfordshire Local Action Group said: “We know there are lots of projects across Oxfordshire which could benefit from this funding and support our local communities.  We’ve got £1 million available but this must be allocated before March 2019 so I urge anyone with a viable scheme to get in touch and start the application process as soon as possible.” 

Since 2008 the programme has provided over a £1 million and supported a variety of projects including mooring by the River Thames, a microbrewery in an old farm building and a new village shop. 

All grants under the Oxfordshire LEADER Programme must be allocated by March 2019. Anyone with a viable idea can contact Oxfordshire LEADER Programme Manager Sophie Milton by calling 01235 422245 or via oxfordshire.leader@southandvale.gov.uk.


Money for the Oxfordshire LEADER Programme comes from DEFRA's Rural Development Programme for England and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. 

The Oxfordshire LEADER Programme is being administered by South Oxfordshire District Council on behalf of Vale of White Horse, Cherwell and West Oxfordshire District Councils.  

South Oxfordshire District Council previously oversaw the successful Southern Oxfordshire LEADER Programme between 2008 and 2013 which saw a total of 61 wide ranging projects receive a share of £1.2million in grants.  These included a microbrewery in an old farm building, a cold store for turkey and goose sales, moorings by the River Thames and new village shops.  These projects also attracted more than £2.5million grants from the private sector and other funding.  

Local LEADER areas are limited to a maximum population of 150,000; however, other parts of Oxfordshire are covered by the Cotswolds, North Wessex Downs and Chilterns LEADER grant programmes. Details can be found here This link will take you to an external website... .  

There are some rural areas in north Oxfordshire which do not fall into a LEADER area.

There is another Rural Development Programme for England fund called the Growth Programme GOV.UK This link will take you to an external website... which is available in those areas.