Wool Towns, LEADER programme

Details of how rural funding programme LEADER is helping to support development in wool towns across Suffolk and North Essex.

Read our case studies on LEADER projects (PDF, 574KB) to help raise awareness and gather ideas for future projects.


The Wool Towns area is the majority of the Babergh and Braintree District Council areas, including parts of Colchester Borough, St Edmundsbury, Mid Suffolk and Tendring District Council.

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Please view our more detailed map of the area.

If you're unsure whether you're in this area please contact us.

What are the priorities for funding?

The Wool Towns Information Leaflet (PDF, 551 KB) gives an overview of what the Wool Towns area is particularly keen to support. 

All funding distributed in the Wool Towns area is guided by a Local Development Strategy (PDF 1.7 MB) which was developed in consultation with local businesses and organisations.

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Who decides on funding applications?

Funding is decided by a Local Action Group (LAG) made up of people from the public, private and voluntary sector who live and work in the area.

LAG members bring their knowledge of the area and expertise in relevant sectors to the group (on a voluntary basis) to help ensure that the funding given meets the goals of the Local Development Strategy.

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Can I join the Local Action Group?

We are always looking for new members who have relevant skills and knowledge to join the LAG.

Members will be expected to attend approximately 5 meetings a year to review upcoming projects in need of for funding, and to ensure they will deliver against the objectives of the local development strategy.

If you are interested in joining the LAG, please check the area priorities to see whether you have expertise in any of these sectors.

Then, contact Gavin Talbot on 07734 540707 or email gavin.talbot@suffolk.gov.uk.

How do I apply for funding?

There is a 2 stage application process for the LEADER programme:

Stage 1: Outline application

The first step to applying for LEADER funding is to contact Gavin Talbot on 07734 540707 to discuss your project's eligibility, and get information on the application process.

If your project is eligible we'll then send you the outline application form. When completing the outline application form you'll need to refer to the applicant handbook (PDF, 715 KB).

Once you have completed the form, email it to ruraldevelopment@suffolk.gcsx.gov.uk.

When your application has been received it will be checked for eligibility and completeness. If you submit an incomplete application we will contact you for the outstanding information.

If the application is not eligible for LEADER funding we will contact you to advise on the reasons why.

If the application is eligible and complete, it will then be appraised and passed on to the Local Action Group for a decision on whether to invite the applicant on to Stage 2.

Stage 2: Full application 

Stage 2 is by invitation only to applicants who have passed the outline application stage (Stage 1).

For full applications, you will be sent an application form via email and allocated a contact that will be able to offer advice and guidance on completing the form.

Once the forms are completed you should email them to ruraldevelopment@suffolk.gcsx.gov.uk.

Once your application is received it will be given a full appraisal, during which time you may be contacted for further information.

When the application has been fully appraised it will be passed on to the Local Action Group to discuss, and decide whether to commit funding to it.

The Local Action Group meets every 10 weeks. There are no deadlines as such for LEADER applications, but for an application to be considered at the next Local Action Group meeting, it must be submitted no later than 8 weeks before the meeting dates.

The Local Action Group meeting dates are:

  • 7 March 2017 (applications submitted by 9am on 9 January 2017)
  • 9 May 2017 (applications submitted by 9am on 13 March 2017)
  • 4 July 2017 (applications submitted by 9am on 8 May 2017)
  • 5 September 2017 (applications submitted by 9am on 10 July 2017)
  • 31 October 2017 (applications submitted by 9am on 4 September 2017)
  • W/C 8 January 2018 (applications submitted by 9am on 13 November 2017)

Once the Local Action Group has decided on whether or not to fund your project, you will be contacted regarding the outcome.

Successful applicants will receive a grant offer, whereas unsuccessful applicants will receive notification of why they were unsuccessful.

Please be aware that this is a competitive grants process with limited funding, so not every application will be successful.

If you have any questions regarding a prospective application, including checking the eligibility of a project, please contact us via our email ruraldevelopment@suffolk.gcsx.gov.uk.

Contact us

Email ruraldevelopment@suffolk.gcsx.gov.uk or call Gavin Talbot on 07734 540707.