The LEADER / Rural Development Programme


County Wicklow Partnership has been supporting communities and businesses in County Wicklow for nearly 30 years through operating and implementing the LEADER programme. Since the programme was introduced in 1992 in excess of €20 million has been invested in 754 projects. The projects supported have ranged in size from small projects worth €2,000 to large flagship projects requiring funding of up to €500,000 in a diverse range of sectors but primarily in the areas of farm diversification, enterprise, rural tourism, heritage, town and village renewal, community facilities and amenities, renewable energy and environmental projects.

The LEADER Initiative (Liaisons entre actions de developpement de l’économie rurale) was established by the European Commission in 1991 and was designed to aid the development of sustainable rural communities following the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy. Highly successful, it operates across the European Union and in all rural areas of Ireland. LEADER is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Irish Exchequer.

The 2014 – 2020 Programme ended on March 31st 2021. For information on projects supported under this programme, see this page! 

CWP is currently implementing a transitional programme for 2021 and 2022 in advance of the new EU LEADER fund commencing in 2023 and are here to help applicants to access these funds.

Any interested applicants are welcome to contact CWP to see if the proposal would be eligible for LEADER funding.


LEADER Themes and Sub Themes:

While LEADER is a broad programme which can consider funding a wide range of actions and investments in county Wicklow, we follow the following themes primarily:

In addition to the above themes and sub themes for the programme, we are additionally focusing on the following priority areas for funding in 2021.



Who can benefit from LEADER funding?

  • Individuals or a group of promoters who have a viable rural enterprise idea
  • Rural Businesses looking to expand or diversify, or start a brand new business
  • Farm Families looking to diversify into non-agricultural activities to supplement their farm income
  • Community Groups promoting community enterprises, local amenity projects or community services
  • Voluntary Organisations or special interest groups promoting social, cultural or environmental projects
  • Partnerships promoting projects in collaboration with other organisations, including other Local Action Groups


Project Eligibility

In general terms the following activities are eligible for funding;

  • Construction costs
  • Purchase of equipment
  • Analysis and Development e.g. Feasibility studies / prototype development
  • Intangible investments such as the acquisition or development of specialised computer software and acquisitions of patents, licenses, copyrights, trademarks.
  • Training programmes that relate to the LEADER themes and that are not available elsewhere or as part of a mainstream educational programme
  • Marketing costs for new initiatives / Group marketing

It should be noted that applications can only be considered for enterprises and activities that will not cause displacement elsewhere. For this reason, many conventional business sectors and activities are precluded from receiving LEADER funding.


Further information:

CWP are here to help!

For information on whether your idea fits within the operating rules and local strategy for county Wicklow, please submit an Expression Of Interest (EOI) form to or contact a LEADER development officer for advice specific to your proposal and on how to prepare your application.

An Expression of Interest Form can be downloaded at the below link:

CWP LEADER Expression of Interest Form


For further information contact CWP on 0402 20955 or


LEADER Development Officers

Alison Keogh                        – Tourism & Community Projects                             

Siobhán Mehigan                 – Enterprise, Food & Environment Projects             

Evelyn Murray                      – Social Enterprise, Craft and Events Projects