Highland LEADER

Arial view of the Skye Bridge

The Highland LEADER Programme covers the mainland Highlands, the Small Isles and Skye but excludes the city of Inverness and the Cairngorms National Park.

The Highland LEADER Programme is structured around a Strategic Local Action Group (LAG) and seven Local Area Partnerships (LAPs). The Strategic LAG is responsible for the overall management and delivery of the Highland LEADER Programme. Due to the size of the area and the range of diverse local communities, the programme has adopted a structure which devolves decision making to seven LAPs.

Highland Local Development Strategy (LDS)

The Highland Local Development Strategy outlines the aims and objectives of the Highland LEADER Programme 2014-2020.


The overall vision and aim of the Local Development Strategy (LDS) is twofold:

  • Stronger communities leading to improved quality of life for those who live in them
  • Growth and diversification of the local economy

The LDS outlines four themes, five cross cutting themes and ten priority outcomes for Highland.


  • Stronger and more resilient communities
  • A growing and diversified economy that promotes sustainability
  • Increased and sustained local services and activities
  • Enhanced cultural, natural and heritage assets

Cross Cutting Themes

  • Fairer Highland – advancing equality (addresses equality issues or benefits people in groups that are under-represented or disadvantaged)
  • Innovation (a new or different approach is proposed within the area)
  • Sustainability/Legacy (the project outcomes will continue beyond the life of the project)
  • Carbon Clever (the project can demonstrate a positive impact on the environment)
  • Skills Development (the project aims to expand the skills of those involved in implementing the project and/or on its participants)


  1. Impact of funded projects can be better demonstrated leading to increased capacity to secure future funds
  2. Increased community ownership/control of assets and services/activities
  3. People feel better supported to undertake volunteering opportunities
  4. Increased partnership working between groups (within and across areas, including intergenerational partnerships)
  5. Increased employment opportunities locally through new business start-ups and existing business diversification/ development
  6. Increased income from local produce through adding value
  7. Improvements in the visitor experience
  8. People have better access to local services and activities
  9. Improved access for residents and visitors (physical and knowledge based) to cultural, natural and heritage assets.
  10. Improved management/conservation/sustainability of cultural, natural and heritage assets

Local Area Action Plans

The seven LAPs have developed a Local Area Action Plan for their respective area. These are simply plans to oversee the delivery of LEADER funding at a local level.

Each Local Area Partnership has the flexibility to focus on specific priorities from within the Highland LDS which are considered to be of most relevance locally and these priorities are outlined in the Local Area Action Plan. 

The seven plans will contribute towards the overall aims and objectives of the Highland LDS.  Collectively, the seven plans will help to deliver the four themes and ten outcomes outlined in the Highland LDS.

Visit the Highland LEADER website for more information on their Local Development Strategy and Local Area Action Plans.

Contact information