New members sought for Northumberland rural funding scheme

The Coast and Lowland Local Action Group approved funding for a marsh harrier watch project at East Chevington.
The Coast and Lowland Local Action Group approved funding for a marsh harrier watch project at East Chevington.

Businesses and communities in the rural coast and lowland areas of Northumberland can still benefit from nearly £2million of European funding to help create jobs and boost the economy.

To help decide which organisations receive grant funding, the Northumberland LEADER Programme is looking to recruit new members to its Local Action Group (LAG).

A call for new LAG members earlier this year generated a good amount of interest but the programme is still keen to attract more recruits for the rural coast and lowland area, which runs north from Lynemouth along the coast to the Scottish Border and inland covering Berwick, Alnwick, Morpeth, and includes the area south of Morpeth through Stannington towards Ponteland.

LEADER is a community-led approach to delivering EU funding into rural businesses and communities.

It provides grants to small businesses, farmers, foresters and communities for projects that create jobs and grow the rural economy. Seventy per cent of the available funding will be used to support projects designed to directly support creation of jobs and growth and the remaining 30 per cent to indirectly support jobs and growth.

LAGs are made up of members from the local community along with the public and private sector. They decide which projects they will fund in their area and all projects must support one or more of the six LEADER priorities.

These are to support micro and small businesses and farm diversification; boost rural tourism; increase farm productivity; increase forestry productivity; provide rural services and provide cultural and heritage activities.

Northumberland Coast and Lowlands LEADER LAG chairman Ross Weddle said: “With the beginning of the new programme we are looking to widen and develop the membership of our Local Action Group.

“We want to hear from local businesses, community organisations, parish and town councils, development trusts, public sector agencies and local residents.

“We are particularly looking to recruit local business people and those involved in agriculture and forestry to join the LAG.”

For further information on joining the LAG, email or ring 01670 623878.