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Community-Led Local Development: LEADER and rural growth - Dr Gary Bosworth, Reader of Enterprise and Rural Economies, University of Lincoln
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Community-Led Local Development: LEADER and rural growth - Dr Gary Bosworth, Reader of Enterprise and Rural Economies, University of Lincoln



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  • 1. Community-Led Local Development: LEADER and rural growth Dr Gary Bosworth, ERC Workshop, Aston University, February 27th 2014
  • 2. The LEADER Philosophy
  • 3.
  • 4. Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) • ocgener/informat/2014/community_en.pdf • A single methodology across all funds and regions • Support will be “consistent and co-ordinated” to make it easier to use multi-fund strategies across both urban and rural areas • CLLD is optional for ERDF, ESF and EMFF but compulsory for EARFD
  • 5. The role of LEADER in the new policy framework Source: HM Government, Preliminary Guidance to Local Enterprise Partnerships on Development of Structural and Investment Strategies Department for Business Innovation and Skills – 2013 (technical annex, p6)
  • 6. Six key priorities 2014-2020 1: Fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas 2: Enhancing competitiveness of all types of agriculture and enhancing farm viability 3: Promoting food chain organisation and risk management in agriculture 4: Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry 5: Promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry sectors 6: Promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural area.
  • 7.
  • 8. Methodology • A review of literature and other LEADER evaluations • Questionnaire sent to a range of rural stakeholders - generating 549 responses • Interviews with a combined total of 83 key stakeholders and beneficiaries in selected LAGs (using a typology based on topography, spending rates and axis/measures available to the LAG) • Two workshops to test our findings with key personnel in LEADER policy and delivery roles.
  • 9. Leader grant per head of rural population
  • 10.
  • 11. Strongly Agree Agree Neither agree/ disagree Disagree/ strongly disagree Promoting networking & sharing best practice1 23% 47% 23% 8% Helping make the area a better place2 45% 45% 7% 3% Taking a bottom- up approach1 42% 41% 11% 6% Supporting innovation2 36% 45% 11% 8% 1: Data from 503 usable responses; 2: Data from 506 usable responses What Has LEADER done well?
  • 12. The Positive Story… • Decisions reflect local need • Greater autonomy helps to develop local skills and potential • LEADER mobilises the local community and economic actors and builds the capacity and confidence of community members – “We can do it!” • There is the flexibility to choose priorities.
  • 13. The Positive Story… • The increase in employment attributable to LEADER was found to be modest in absolute terms, at an average of 3.5 FTE per business, but this is significant employment at a local level (Ekosgen, 2011). “You get more bang for your buck in rural areas like this, it saves one or two people having to go to Lincoln to get a job so it makes a real difference. That money would’ve been lost in a bigger town” • Many Leader grant applications have been submitted by community groups and social enterprises and the resultant projects continue to support and harness the efforts of volunteers.
  • 14. Great diversity of outcomes • The volunteers had a ‘village hall mentality’ but are now able to operate a modern and versatile public space so protecting a major public investment • The Forge Studios has provided free workspace to enable young entrepreneurs to establish and grow a business • The South Tyne Valley Railway is not only attracting additional visitors, contrary to regional tourism trends, but the many volunteers are more committed and lead more fulfilling lives • Village Agents in remote rural Cumbria are finding novel ways of delivering community service and especially support for disadvantaged groups including the elderly • Lakeland Eggs has enlisted a network of 50+ farmers into their supply chain, animal welfare standards are exemplary and employees are able to walk to their workplace
  • 15. Great diversity of outcomes…cont’d • Growing Together in Cornwall has through a simple concept reinforced community cohesion, bolstered local food supply chains and promoted healthier lifestyles • Groombridge Hill farm in Kent is now defined by its new farm shop rather than the opposite and the LEADER experience has inspired new initiatives in renewable energy • Kent Lavender Growers have gained vital credibility as exporters to Continental markets • Farmers markets have been established in Shropshire schools so embedding the benefits of local food production into the minds of future consumers • Cumbria Woodlands has provided an essential translation service to overcome the language barriers between funding bodies and the forestry sector.
  • 16. However… • Measurement of impact was restricted with a stronger focus on measuring spend • Under-represented groups remain a problem in some areas leading some LAGs to develop specifically funded projects to encourage their participation in rural development • There were difficulties interpreting specific measures and obtaining clarifications from RDAs and DEFRA (Hyder and ADAS, 2010) • External policy relationships determine the scope for local policy impact. In England, the removal of the regional layer of government changed the nature of policy networks and allowed more freedom at the local level. “LEADER exists to deliver the RDPE and its policy goals and targets” • Co-operation projects were less effective in England - Issues of perception and cost.
  • 17. Opportunities identified by LAGs • Coverage could usefully include market towns that serve key functions for rural hinterlands. • Efficiency savings could be made from combining back-office functions, without losing the focus on local issues. • LAGs could benefit from a comprehensive set of good practice guidelines based on experience of the current programme…especially new LEADER groups. - These might include: recruiting members, handling bids, conducting meetings, contracting and monitoring • A clear emphasis should remain on the value of local groups applying good practice to meet local circumstances, and not seeking to create top-down uniformity. • Local self-evaluation throughout the process can be valuable
  • 18. Concluding thoughts • The power-balance can be improved by greater communication and local participation in the pre-implementation stages. • Reporting and monitoring could be better aligned to LEADER objectives, not just economic measures. • The experiences from England highlight difficulties in terms of managing risk, matching local opportunities to pre-defined measures and dealing with bureaucracy throughout the process. • It also highlights real opportunities, however, as local actors have become increasingly capable at supporting applicants and developing approaches tailored to their local areas.
  • 19. ► If its not risky – wouldn’t the private sector fund it anyway? Thank You….any questions? Dr Gary Bosworth, University of Lincoln 01522 835576