The North Cork Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) – a Committee of Cork County Council – has been confirmed as the new LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) for North Cork and the programme will officially commence today, 1st December 2016.
The new group – which will be branded “LEADER North Cork” – will manage the allocation of €5.1 million in LEADER funding across North Cork for the period 2016-2020.
In addition Cork County Council will provide a supplementary Community Development Initiative Fund of just under €1.3m to support the programme which will bring the total funding available to communities in North Cork to just under € 6.4 million.
The programme will be rolled out by a consortium of the North Cork LAG and the three incumbent local development companies operating in the North Cork Council division namely; Avondhu-Blackwater Partnership CLG, Ballyhoura Development CLG and IRD Duhallow CLG.
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 North Cork, Cllr Gerard Murphy commended the Group, its three 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 Murphy 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 North 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 Murphy said that LEADER provides a real opportunity to invest in local communities in North 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. Murphy added that the North Cork LEADER Programme will officially launch 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.leadernorthcork.com