The LEADER / Rural Development Programme


For information on the 2020 Targeted Call for LEADER Biodiversity applications, please go to this page.


The LEADER programme has been supporting communities and businesses in County Wicklow for over 25 years. Since the programme was introduced in 1992 in excess of €15 million has been invested in 632 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.

LEADER 2014-2020 Themes and Sub-Themes


There is a project budget of €4.7 million to allocate under the LEADER programme in County Wicklow  until December 2020.  The following are the programme themes and subthemes;


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.


LEADER 2014-2020 Grant Rates and Ceilings

Further information


An Expression of Interest Form can be downloaded here

LEADER Application handbook can be downloaded here

For further information contact CWP on 0402 20955 or


LEADER Development Officers

Alison Keogh           

Siobhán Mehigan    

Evelyn Murray