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10 October 2019

Multi-million pound boost for Cumbria’s rural economy

Cumbrian businesses and organisations took part in an event showcasing the success of an EU initiative supporting rural areas and creating jobs in Cumbria.

A total of 185 projects in Cumbria have been awarded financial support totalling £4.68m from the EU-backed LEADER programmes covering Cumbria Fells and Dales, and also Solway, Border and Eden since 2014.

This funding support is expected to create 200 new jobs and attract 150,000 additional day visitors to Cumbria, giving a £5.7m boost to the county’s economy.

The LEADER programmes have been delivered by Cumbria County Council, which has supported applicants, assessed applications for funding and processed grant claims. The two programmes are now closed to new applications as all funding has been awarded to projects.

Representatives of 23 businesses in Cumbria which received funding support, attended an event at Rheged, Penrith, hosted by the county council to celebrate the success of the LEADER programmes. The event provided a showcase for how LEADER programmes have boosted businesses and organisations in Cumbria.

One of the projects supported through LEADER is Susan’s Farm, a working care farm near Carlisle providing opportunities for learning and practical work experience as well as alternative educational provision.

Funding was provided to create a permanent Food and Farming Learning & Community centre to develop the established education and care farming activities including a kitchen to allow visitors to prepare meals. The centre also acts as a community hub for village events and works with a wide range of users from school children to teenagers and adults with challenging needs.

Rob Randell, Joint Chair of the LEADER programme, said: “The event at Rheged showcased some of the fantastic projects that have been funded through the Cumbria LEADER Programmes. It was lovely to hear people from supported projects speaking highly of the benefits LEADER funding has made to their organisations and also the County Council’s Economic Programmes Team for their continued support during the process.”

Cllr David Southward, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Economic Development, said: “The LEADER programmes in Cumbria, which are funded by the European Union, have been an outstanding success story for the county’s economy, supporting 185 businesses and organisations which are expected to create 200 jobs.”


The LEADER programme funding is part of the Rural Development Programme for England, and is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the European Union (EU) through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

LEADER is a well-established method of providing European Rural Development Programme (RDP) funding at the local level. LEADER is a (French) acronym which roughly translates as ‘Links between the rural economy and development actions’.

For more information on the LEADER Cumbria Fells and Dales programme - http://www.fellsanddales.org.uk/

For more information on the LEADER Cumbria Solway, Border and Eden programme - http://www.sbeleader.org.uk/

Cumbrian businesses and organisations took part in an event showcasing the success of an EU initiative supporting rural areas and creating jobs in Cumbria.