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, almost €30 million has been invested nearly 1000 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 2023 – 2027 LEADER programme is now open!

CWP are accepting new applications from individuals, communities and enterprises for applications under the themes of the new LEADER programme.

Please fill out the below Expression of Interest form and email to and a LEADER Development Officer will be in touch to let you know whether your project is eligible under the programme or not.

If your project is eligible, you will then get advice on how to prepare a LEADER application.

LEADER EOI Form 2023 – 2027


In the meantime, please read this short application guideline document on the general requirements of a LEADER application


LEADER application handbook FINAL


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 advance of this programme opening, a Local Development Strategy (LDS) was developed for Wicklow LCDC by County Wicklow Partnership. This strategy assessed the needs and areas for development in County Wicklow for this LEADER programme. Projects seeking funding have to fit the objectives within this LDS. See here to read a summary of this LDS document to see how your idea or proposal may fit into this LEADER Strategy.


LDS summary FINAL


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.


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


LEADER Development Officers

A LEADER Development officer is here to assist you in preparing and managing your LEADER application!

See below contact details as well as primary areas of expertise if you have any queries relating to your idea or proposal and we will assist you as best we can.


Alison Keogh                        – Tourism & Community Projects                             

Siobhán Mehigan                 – Enterprise, Food & Environment Projects             

Evelyn Murray                      – Social Enterprise, Craft and Events Projects         





Further information:

CWP are here to help!

For further information contact CWP on 0402 20955 or