Community Led Local Development

'Community-Led Local Development' or 'CLLD' gives local communities the power to tackle their own, local challenges. By building knowledge and skills, supporting new ideas and encouraging cooperation, CLLD helps to create viable and resilient communities.

Local people – individuals, businesses and community groups – come together to form a partnership and create an action plan to address their concerns.

Local action plans aim to address social, environmental and economic issues and include actions to:

  • drive community action on climate change
  • enhance rural services and facilities, including transport initiatives
  • enhance natural/cultural heritage, tourism and leisure
  • support food and drink initiatives (for example short supply chains, community food)
  • build co-operation with similar groups in Scotland, UK and Europe
  • exchange learning and knowledge with each other, realise their potential, build opportunities for all

For the last 30 years, CLLD in rural Scotland has been mostly delivered through the LEADER Programme. LEADER funding was awarded by Local Action Groups to projects that support delivery of a Local Development Strategy.

Other funding for CLLD includes: crowdfunding initiatives, wind farm grants, community empowerment funds, participatory budgeting and Scottish Rural Development Programme schemes, such as Improving Public Access.

The current LEADER programme is now closed to new applications.The Scottish Government has committed to funding projects put on hold because of COVID-19 until the end of 2021.

The Scottish Government has also confirmed funding of £3m to test future approaches to CLLD in rural and island communities in Scotland over 2021-22. These test of change pilots will help inform how we grow sustainable and thriving communities, and ensure local voices shape and drive their development. 

The 'Rural Communities Testing Change (RCTC)' Fund will launch in two tranches. As part of the first tranche of funding, there are two funding streams being made available to Local Action Groups (LAGs). This will allow LAGs to build on the positive legacy of LEADER while using their experience to properly innovate and test change.

Tranche 2 of the fund, now called the 'Rural Communities Ideas into Action' Fund, is being delivered in partnership with Inspiring Scotland. The fund, which closed on 8 October, was open to all community groups as described on the Inspiring Scotland website.

For more information please get in touch with us at, and keep an eye on our social media channels and the news section of our website for further updates.