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LEADER rural funding programme

Suffolk County Council is the accountable body for the LEADER rural funding programme in Suffolk and North Essex.

This programme is now closed to applications.

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LEADER provides grants for rural businesses or organisations. Funding is provided by the EU's Rural Development Programme England (RDPE) and the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The funding is granted by Local Action Groups (LAG) made up of individuals from the public, private and voluntary sector. 

Between 2015 to 2020 the funding priorities for LEADER are:


  • micro and small enterprises and farm diversification
  • increasing farm productivity
  • rural tourism
  • increasing forestry productivity
  • provision of rural services and local business support services
  • cultural and heritage activity

A key priority of the programme is that the majority of grants should contribute to jobs being created. You can find out more about LEADER programmes on GOV.UK.

Wool Towns area

The Wool Towns area covers the majority of the Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council and includes parts of Colchester Borough, West Suffolk, and Tendring District Councils.

Heritage Coast area

The Heritage Coast area covers most of East Suffolk District Council and the majority of the Tendring District Council area, as well as smaller parts of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council areas.