The Kestevens LEADER programme

The Kestevens LEADER fund is now open for applications!

The long awaited Kestevens LEADER fund has recently opened for applications. This webpage provides you with information you may find helpful as well as links through to The Kestevens dedicated webpage.

The funding comes through the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. The Kestevens LEADER Programme, which is funding from the European Union, will cover all of the NKDC area as well as the majority of SKDC. There are a number of exceptions, notably Grantham and the outskirts of Lincoln, as the programme is aimed at rural areas. Further information on eligible areas is available from the Kestevens website link below where there is a postcode search facility.

The fund is aimed at bottom-up, small scale projects that can show local need and allows applications in the following six areas:

  • Support for micro & small enterprise and farm diversification
  • Support for increasing farm productivity
  • Support for rural tourism
  • Support for increasing forestry productivity
  • Provision of rural services
  • Support for cultural & heritage activity

The funds are administered by a Local Action Group (LAG) who will make decisions on projects. This LAG is made up of local representatives from across The Kestevens area and will meet regularly over the lifetime of the fund.

The fund is now open for applications. It is a two stage application process with an initial Expression of Interest submitted to establish whether the proposal is eligible. A handbook for applicants, as well as guidance notes on how to fill out the forms, is provided on The Kestevens website. You are urged to read these fully before submitting an application as there is information contained within them about eligibility and what information is required in the form.

The main website, with links to all the forms and information.

If it is then the full application will be sent to you to complete by a deadline. Applications are then assessed again and if suitable taken to a full LEADER LAG Board Meeting to be discussed. This process can take a couple of months. Applicants are reminded that no spend prior to LAG Board approval can be claimed.

You may want to consider the following points if you think LEADER is the fund for you:

  • The process for access LEADER is not an easy one but there will be help available to assist you. You need to make sure that this is the fund for you. Explore what else is out there and talk to us if you have questions.
  • Explore other sources of funding as funds can often be grouped together to fund a project. You will need to find around half of the costs of the project yourself.
  • For most funder, your project must not have commenced when you apply and you are unable to claim funding retrospectively.
  • Ideally, your project should be ready to go with all permissions in place as otherwise there is a delay.
  • You need a robust and realistic project idea. As part of the LEADER process, and indeed other funders, you need to be able to prove the value of what you are wanting to do.
  • Prepare a Business Plan. This is key. Funders will be looking for one of these and they will greatly assist in filling out applications. If you do not have one this will put you at a disadvantage.

Whilst the above issues to consider could be seen as onerous we can offer support to assist and the programme is worth considering if you are eligible as it is very much locally assessed and based on delivering smaller projects.

If you have an idea that you feel may fit in to one of the six headings above we are keen to hear from you so that we can put you in touch adviser. Please contact the Economic Development Unit of NKDC at: or the main Kestevens LEADER lead at: