Guidance Notes

If you think you may be eligible to apply, then please take a closer look at this section which provides further information on eligibility. The LEADER handbook is available to download at the bottom of this page. The handbook contains a detailed breakdown of what is eligible under each of the following six priorities:


All projects must align with at least one of the six priorities listed below.


Support for increasing farm productivity

Assist the agricultural sector to make a positive economic contribution through added-value initiatives.


Support for micro and small enterprises and farm diversification

Create increased business and employment opportunities through micro and small enterprise development/support and diversification into non-agricultural activities.


Support for rural tourism

Improve the visitor offer and capture increased spend through the development of sustainable tourism activities.


Provision of rural services

Deliver economic growth by supporting sustainable rural services.


Support for cultural and heritage activity

Add-value to both the local and visitor economy by developing the area’s unique natural environment and heritage/cultural assets.


Support for increased forestry productivity

Utilise the area’s natural forest resources to create sustainable economic and community benefits.

Additional Funding Criteria

We have compiled a list of key criteria and principles below which are often overlooked by applicants. Please do not hesitate to contact the programme team if you require any further advice or clarification.


  1. LAG will prioritise funding for new and innovative projects which do not lead to direct competition/displacement of current business activities. Grant funding must be used to address a clear market gap, rather than to compete more effectively with existing businesses in the LAG area.

  2. All projects must make a measurable contribution to the development of the local economy (with clear evidence provided on project completion). This would usually be in the form of job creation or businesses supported, but examples could also include outputs such as the development of a new tourism attraction or increased visitor numbers.

  3. Business applicants must be able to demonstrate direct job creation, as a result of LAG funding, and may also be required to show that turnover/profit has increased as a consequence of grant.

  4. In relation to business applications, LEADER will prioritise funding for micro-enterprise, though is also open to applications from small businesses (up to 50 employees).

  5. LAG is only able to fund items purchased using hire purchase or asset finance where the applicant has full ownership of the item prior to submitting a claim.

  6. Please contact the programme team if you have received more than €200,000 (currently £140,000) in the last three fiscal years as there may be state aid implications. This usually only applies when funding activities of a commercial nature.

  7. LEADER funding is predominantly for capital purchases though small amounts of revenue may sometimes be allowable. Funding  is intended to act as a pump-primer resource where investment leads to sustainable long-term economic benefits. Projects which are reliant on continued grant support are ineligible.

  8. All projects must provide clear evidence of need and support from key stakeholders, local businesses and residents.

  9. LAG funds are designed to support activities which could otherwise not take place. For example, if a business is already able to expand/develop its activities without grant intervention (i.e. – by using bank loans or own funds), there would be no justification for grant intervention. LAG is considered to be a lender of last resort.

  10. LAG can only contribute towards projects and activities which are outside of any mainstream or EU funded programmes. Funding for activities such as training and education are therefore ineligible.

  11. LAG is only able to fund renewable energy projects which are ineligible to claim feed-in tariffs (FITS) or renewable heat incentives (RHI’s).

Eligible Area

Please use the postcode checker tool to see if your proposed project is based inside the eligible area. Most parts of the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury Borough are included in the programme. However, there are a few isolated areas (classified as urban by Defra) which are outside the scope of LAG. These areas will be covered by urban specific EU funding programmes.


Please contact the programme team, if you are unsure of your eligibility or have any further questions.  

Leader Handbook

The LEADER handbook provides more detailed guidance and details of eligible costs.