The new Loddon and Test LEADER Programme 2015 - 2020

The consultation phase for the North Hampshire LEADER is now complete. A new strategy has been produced and the new LEADER area will now be known as the Loddon and Test LEADER. The strategy has been submitted to DEFRA and we expect to hear the results by the end of February. If we are successful, the new programme is expected to be up and running by May 2015. Please keep checking here for updates.

The new Loddon and Test LEADER Programme will stretch from West Berkshire and Wokingham in the north, across north east Hampshire and the Loddon valley and down through the north west of Hampshire and the Test Valley. For a map, please click on this link.

The programme will fund and support farming, forestry, tourism, rural services, micro and small enterprises, conservation and heritage through 86 projects, creating at least 82 new jobs and benefitting a conservative minimum estimate of 13,000 individuals.

The RDPE sets out six national priorities for LEADER Strategies:

  • Support for increasing farm productivity
  • Support for micro and small enterprises and farm diversification
  • Support for rural tourism
  • Support for rural services
  • Support for cultural and heritage activity
  • Support for increasing forestry production

From this and the consultation phase, four local priorities for the Loddon and Test have been identified:

  1. Supporting innovation for a sustainable future for farming, rural economies and communities
  2. Enabling and supporting new and existing rural enterprises and SMEs while benefitting therural economy and rural community
  3. Boosting the rural tourism economy to benefit local rural communities while enhancing and protecting the landscape, heritage and culture of the area
  4. Improving the financial viability and productivity of forestry through innovation in accessibility and processing, and the development of the market and supply chain.

For further information on the local priorities of the Loddon and Test LEADER and a copy of the strategy, please click here

We expect to be able to offer grant aid up to 50,000 maximum. All projects will be required to raise match funding and planning permission should be in place before applying. However, no physical works should take place before funding is agreed. A business plan will be expected as part of your application. If you would like to discuss a project idea, please contact Emily Preston, Loddon and Test LEADER Programme Manager at:-

Wood processing equipment wins cut of £1.8m grant funding

Examples of projects that received funding from the previous Loddon and Eversley LEADER project include a firewood and coppice merchant based near Farnham, and a large local estate in North Hampshire.

picture of grant recipient, the Earl of Malmesbury

Grants of over £10,500 have bought wood processing machinery of different types for the applicants. more ...

LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and will be taking enquiries later in 2015. The RDPE is jointly funded by the EU, through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and the UK Government.