LEADER Funding

What is LEADER?

LEADER is a French acronym which means “Liaison among Actors in Rural Economic Development’ and it is an EU funded rural grant programme designed to support local businesses.

LEADER is focused on jobs and economic growth. You may be eligible if your project will create jobs, increase productivity / efficiency or develop new markets. You may also be eligible if your idea will increase visitor spend in the area or provide an essential rural service.

Most people or businesses can apply for LEADER funding, but they – or their project – must be in a LEADER area.

LEADER areas

There are four LEADER area delivery organisations covering different areas of Oxfordshire:

Check our map below to see if you are in a LEADER area:

Download the hi-res map here (323.69 KB)

Projects Supported

To be eligible for LEADER funding your project must cover one or more themes set out by the relevant delivery organisation. These are:


  • Growing, selling, eating more local food
  • Vibrant villages
  • Reviving the River Thames and associated waterways
  • Unlocking the potential of woodlands


  • Enhance Farm Productivity
  • Support rural SMEs and farm diversification
  • Support rural tourism
  • Support the provision of rural services
  • Increase forest productivity
  • Support historic landscapes or monuments

North Wessex Downs

  • Farming productivity
  • Micro and small businesses (including farm diversification)
  • Tourism / the visitor economy
  • Forestry productivity
  • Rural services and
  • Culture and Heritage


  • Micro and small enterprises and farm diversification
  • Rural tourism
  • Culture and heritage
  • Rural services
  • Increasing farm productivity
  • Increasing forestry productivity

Enquiries about LEADER funding should be made directly with the relevant delivery organisation.