Scottish Rural Network Support Unit's Development Officer Don Morrison reports on recent launch events for the two new LEADER programmes in Aberdeenshire.

The new LEADER programmes for North and South Aberdeenshire were launched recently at packed events across the regions.

All three launch events had very encouraging interaction and included a run through of the application process and an opportunity to question local LEADER staff as well as discuss possible new projects. 

Clackmannanshire Funding Fayre

LEADER will be one of the funders represented at this event. Visit for more information.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil has announced that a £1.7 million fund will help communities revitalise their town centres.

The Cabinet Secretary revealed offers have gone out to 21 town centre groups which will help communities deliver capital projects, including projects in Crieff, Elgin, Fort William and Lanark.

Moray LEADER is now recruiting for Local Action Group members for the 2014-2020 programme.

Moray has been approved for funding to operate the 2014-2020 LEADER Programme, with European Union and Scottish Government funding of over £3.4 million. The programme will be overseen by a Local Action Group (LAG) for which volunteers are now being recruited.

Cairngorms LEADER have opened a Small Grants Programme to fund quick-impact small projects.

You can apply for grants between £500 and £5,000 for projects that benefit those who live, work and visit the Cairngorms National Park.

Cairngorms LEADER can fund from 50% to 100% of total project costs, and can even pay up to 50% of the total grant awarded in advance.

The rural charity RSABI has launched its 2015/16 Help for Heating Fund.

Fixed grants of £300 are available to anyone with a background in farming, crofting, forestry, horticulture, fish-farming, game-keeping and rural estate work, who is in fuel poverty (when a household has to spend 10% or more of its income to maintain acceptable levels of warmth) and meets RSABI criteria for receiving financial help.

RSABI Welfare Manager, John Macfarlane, who oversees the Help for Heating Fund said:

The Scottish Government is hosting a series of workshops to discuss the Environmental Co-operation Action Fund and to answer questions about the scheme.

These free workshops will include general queries and, if you are thinking about applying, questions on eligibility, priorities, and project proposals with a view to encouraging high quality applications.

The second funding round of the Food Processing, Marketing and Cooperation scheme closes for applications on 15 November.

Changes to the Scottish Government's Croft House Grant Scheme are being considered following a public consultation.

The Croft House Grant Scheme (CHGS) provides up to £1.4 million in grants each year towards the cost of building or improving homes with the aim of attracting and retaining people in the crofting areas of Scotland.

Kelvin Valley and Falkirk are the latest Local Action Group to launch their LEADER programme.

At a packed event in Kilsyth’s Colzium House on 29 October over 70 attendees heard how the £2.8 million fund will support economic and community development in rural parts of Falkirk, North Lanarkshire and East Dumbartonshire.