Have Your Say! ~ Rural Affairs with Dagmar Winter


2014 is the year! 2014 gives communities and businesses across the country the opportunity to contribute to the new LEADER Local Development Strategy, which will set priorities for the utilisation of EU rural development funding between 2015 - 2020.

1.	Northumberland Coast & Lowlands supported Green Light to Work for rural people with transport difficulties

Northumberland Coast & Lowlands      
supported Green Light to Work for      
rural people with transport difficulties     





North Pennine Dales supported Isaac's Tea Trail

North Pennine Dales supported Isaac's Tea Trail      






What is LEADER?*

Rural England, indeed, rural areas across Europe have LEADER groups. The overall goal for LEADER is to improve the quality of life in rural areas. The letters of "LEADER" stand for community-led, local decision making in order to facilitate appropriate development for a rural area. LEADER views local people as the main asset of rural areas and empowers them to decide what is best suited to their own environment, culture, working traditions and skills.
Each LEADER area has a Local Action Group (LAG), made up of local people. The LAG has the task of compiling a Local Development Strategy and making decisions about the different projects to be financed in order to deliver that Strategy.

Where is LEADER locally?

Across our Diocese, there are three LEADER groups operating:

  • NULAG (Northumberland Uplands Local Action Group) of which
    your Rural Officer is Chair,
  • Northumberland Coast & Lowlands LEADER, and
  • North Pennine Dales LEADER

So what's happening in 2014 in your area?


Beginning in May NULAG will be hosting public discussion events to consult and work with local communities and businesses to seek ideas and views contributing to the new Local Development Strategy. The public consultation events will take place in the four main towns of the Northumberland Uplands area throughout May and the beginning of June. Just drop in any time between 2.00pm and 7.00pm and have your say on how you want EU funding to be spent in your area:

  • Bellingham Town Hall - Tuesday 20th May
  • Cheviot Centre Wooler - Wednesday 28th May
  • Haltwhistle Library - Friday 30th May
  • Rothbury Jubilee Hall - Thursday 5th June

Local Action Group members are also working flat out and approaching as many Parish Councils as possible to ask their views.

If an online questionnaire is more your thing, check out our website: www.nuleader.eu (where you can also find details of projects 2008 – 13) and follow us on Twitter @NULAG1.
We are not only interested in what we can get European Funding for or what the Councils think should happen. The strategy should say what local people think should be the future of their rural place and life. It needs to be shared by everyone and then we can all work together to make it happen.

NULAG has teamed up with other key partners including Northumberland National Park, Northumberland County Council and Newcastle University to work on developing this strategy which will be submitted to DEFRA in September 2014.


LAG Chair Ross Weddle and Consultant Alastair Thomson write:

The Northumberland Coast and Lowlands LEADER Transitional Working Group are also in the course of pulling together the new Local Development Strategy (LDS) and Delivery Plan for the next phase of LEADER 2015 - 2020.

The new programme has a greater focus on economic development than the past, and it will be important to ensure that our activities fit with the range of other provision targeted on our communities. As part of this process, Centrifuge Consulting, who are helping us with the LDS preparation, will be contacting local people and organisations over the new priorities for LEADER intervention. We welcome comment on future priorities from local groups – look out for details of consultations in your local area.

The timescale to prepare the LDS is short, but if you want to be kept informed about the consultation process, please contact Christine Stevenson at the LEADER office (christine@leadercoastamdlowlands.org.uk) or Alastair Thomson at Centrifuge (alastair@centrifuge.coop). You can also follow us on twitter at @NlandCLLEADER.


LAG Chair Peter Samsom and Project Coordinator Sue Ellwood write:

The North Pennine Dales LEADER area roughly covers the areas of Northumberland South of the Tyne, the western edge of Derwentside, Weardale and Teesdale. In the past few years it has supported projects such as the Whitfield Pantry cafe and shop, the South Tynedale Railway and the yurts at the Killhope Museum. Natural Ability, the charity that works with people with disabilities received funding for their minibus to be able to get their group to the outdoor work they do. You can view the full project booklet online at www.northpenninedalesleader.co.uk.

Now the Local Action Group has moved on to creating a new strategy for investment for the area. The focus for this new round of LEADER funding will be mostly on the creation of jobs and economic growth in the rural areas. The group is reviewing its boundaries and investigating whether there’s an appetite in the Alston area to rejoin the North Pennines area. A public meeting will be held in Alston Town Hall in mid-May.

The Local Development Strategy in which the economic priorities for the area will be reflected, depends on the active involvement of local people. We need your contribution to this thinking and to do so you can contact Sue Ellwood by email on sue@northpenninedalesleader.co.uk or by phone on 07789266491.

*The acronym ‘LEADER' derives from the French words "Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l'Économique Rurale" which means, ‘Links between the rural economy and development actions'. - Ed


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