T: 074 91 27056 (Letterkenny)/ 074 97 25432 (Donegal Town)  E: info@dldc.org

Rural Development Programme (LEADER) 2023-2027

The priority of LEADER is to promote social inclusion and economic development in rural areas.

Grants are available under the LEADER programme to support community groups, social enterprises and businesses with both capital projects and feasibility studies.

About the Programme

LEADER has been at the heart of rural development in Ireland and EU member states for over three decades.  Originating as an experimental rural development programme in 1991, LEADER has evolved through five successive programming periods to become a key intervention within EU rural development policy. Over the three decades of its existence, the programme has supported the development of a wide range of innovative and sustainable projects that have brought increased jobs and vibrancy to rural communities across the EU.

LEADER is a community-led approach to local development funded through Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027 . It is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).  It is a key intervention of Our Rural Future, the Government’s Policy for rural development launched in 2021, which aims to deliver a wide range of actions to rural communities over the lifetime of the policy.

Further information on the LEADER programme

The LEADER booklet will provide you with some important information about the LEADER programme, including eligibility criteria, funding ceilings, and grant rates. You can also read about some of the projects funded under the last programme, which will give you a flavour of the type of initiatives that LEADER supports.


Leader Themes and Sub Themes

The LEADER element of the CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027 outlines a series of themes identified as part of research and consultations undertaken in developing the plan. These themes are reflective of the key challenges and opportunities facing rural Ireland. Each theme is given further definition through a number of sub-themes, which reflect the key areas that require the most support and have the greatest potential to promote the sustainable development of rural communities. The sub-themes are considered sufficiently broad and flexible to encompass the diversity of local needs in rural areas.

The Local Development Strategy (LDS)

As a community-led local development initiative, the LEADER programme is designed to engage, resource and enable local communities to manage local development in their areas. Central to this process is the Local Development Strategy (LDS).   The LDS is a community-led plan that was designed in partnership with the local communities throughout Donegal to achieve a collective vision for the sustainable development of the county.  The LDS sets out a number of priority objectives.   For a project to be eligible for LEADER funding, it must be linked to at least one of the LDS objectives.

What type of project is eligible for LEADER funding?

 The LEADER programme supports a broad range of projects.  However, there are certain sectors and activities that are not eligible for LEADER funding.



How do I apply for LEADER funding?

Engaging with the LEADER programme involves a clear and straightforward process.  Throughout the process, a Project Officer will be available to provide valuable support and guidance.


Meet the Team:

Sinead mcLaughlin

Catchment Area: South Donegal

Aisling McGee

Catchment Area: North Donegal

Screenshot 2024-04-11 at 15.13.09

Catchment Area: East Donegal

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