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.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has issued a call for ambitious ideas to improve habitats, safeguard species and encourage increased access to nature.

Up to £2million will be available through the two-year Biodiversity Challenge Fund, which was announced in the Scottish Government’s programme for government last year.

The first year of the fund is now open, with up to £1million of investment available in 2019/20.

Crowdfund Scotland: Falkirk and Kelvin Valley

The Crowdfund Scotland team are running a workshop on Monday 20th May in association with their partners at LEADER.

This will be an introductory session suitable for anyone who wants to find out more about this method of fundraising and the potential uses for local projects.

The event will also discuss the match funding available for projects via Crowdfunder and how you can access this.

Topics to be covered:

The Prince’s Countryside Fund have announced over £240,000 of grant awards in their most recent round of funding, including three projects in Scotland. 

Grants of up to £50,000 are available for projects that will provide a long-term positive impact to the individuals and communities they seek to benefit.

The Fund is currently open for grant applications until February 21st 2019 - find out more here

The LEADER co-operation project called Crowdfund Scotland is now up and running, with coaches covering nine of the participating LAG areas within Scotland. The Crowdfunder strategy opens up opportunities for people to learn how to raise the money for their projects across Scotland to assist with economic growth and development.