April Fools’ Day and three days beyond the set date for ‘Brexit’, seven members of Angus, Rural Perth and Kinross and Fife LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGs) took the bold step of traveling to Europe.  Arriving in Växjö, South-East Sweden, the group spent a busy four days with the LEADER team and LAG members of the Linné-Småland area as part of a knowledge exchange trip.  

Last night, as part of the much anticipated NetworX conference held in Brussels, the European Commissioner Phil Hogan announced the 5 winners of the inaugural Rural Inspiration Awards.

The Scottish Rural Network would like to extend a massive congratulations to all 25 finalists, and the 5 overall winners.

The winners were:

Crowdfunding workshop

Crowdfund Scotland and Tyne Esk LEADER are holding a workshop on crowdfunding. 

It is open to groups/third sector organisations/individuals/social enterprises/businesses from Midlothian or East Lothian with a project idea interested in finding out more.

Tyne Esk are one of the LEADER areas in Scotland in the unique position of having a dedicated Crowdfund Coach.  They wish to share the opportunity as far and wide as possible.



16 UK citizens, including 3 from Scotland, have been awarded Churchill Fellowships to research new ideas for improving rural living, thanks to a partnership between The Prince’s Countryside Fund and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Churchill Fellowships offer UK citizens a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel the world and research a topic of their own choosing.

Update 10 April 2019, please note this article has been updated to reflect the extended deadline for applications.

The 2019 Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) round is currently open to applications and closes on 17 April 2019.

The latest LEADER Staff Group meeting took place recently at Piperdam Leisure Resort in the Angus Local Action Group area.

Moray LEADER have been enjoying the buzz around the opening of FindhornHive, a new centre for social enterprise which was one of the earliest and largest projects to be funded by the programme.

Around 70 people attended the opening of FindhornHive by local MSP and former Rural Secretary Richard Lochhead.

The new building is a social enterprise hub offering offices, hot desking and studio spaces, and demand for places is already high.

A celebration of the LEADER approach in Scotland was held last night (February 27th) at the Scottish Parliament. Bruce Crawford MSP hosted the Parliamentary Reception, which was organised collaboratively between Scottish Rural Network (SRN) and the Scottish Local Action Group (LAG) Chairs committee, with input and support from a wide variety of stakeholders.  

The latest Peatland ACTION Fund round is now open with £1.5 million available to restore damaged peatlands across Scotland.

The funding comes through the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan commitments, which sets out the long-term ambition to restore 250,000 hectares of peatland by 2030.

With more than 80% of peatland habitats estimated to be damaged in Scotland, restoration is crucial to “locking-in” carbon, helping to tackle climate change.