Projects get LEADER programme green light

Monday November 21st 2016

Tyne Esk Leader

Six projects including a bridge restoration will be given grants totalling £267,889 in the first round of LEADER programme awards throughout Midlothian and East Lothian.

At the full cabinet meeting in November, councillors heard that while both the Scottish Government and Westminster have confirmed the programme will continue, details of any changes to the current grant allocation of £3.59 million and the end date of 2020 are expected to be announced in the autumn statement on 23 November.

This means that the deadline date of 5 December and those quarterly thereafter still stand.

The LEADER programme is a rural grant fund which is available throughout the rural areas of Scotland. It is part of the Scottish Rural Development Fund which comes from a source of European Funding.

The Tyne Esk LEADER programme is a joint programme covering the rural areas of Midlothian and East Lothian but excluding Dalkeith and Musselburgh. It takes its name from the two rivers which flow between East and Midlothian: the River Tyne and the River Esk.

This is the third LEADER programme which has operated in the area and which Midlothian has benefitted from. Previously, the two LEADER programmes were managed by East Lothian Council.

When applications reopen, they will be welcomed from local third sector organisations or community groups, local agencies, public sector and from private business. Within this programme there is a real push on supporting rural enterprise and also assisting with farm diversification projects.

The cabinet member for economic development, Councillor Jim Bryant said: “We’d encourage as many local businesses and organisations to apply.

“With minimum grants of between £10,000 and £200,000 on offer, these are substantial cash injections that can deliver significant benefits to rural areas and our local economy.”

Among the six successful projects is the Kirkbridge restoration in East Lothian. A grant of £18,000 was awarded to a local farmer to restore the historic bridge used by drovers in past centuries.

A total of £51,000 has also been given to a VW campervan elevating roof workshop to extend the premises.

After the Scottish Government review, grant applications will once again be welcomed from projects which take place throughout the rural areas of East Lothian and Midlothian. Areas not fully covered by the previous LEADER Programmes (Penicuik, Lasswade, Bonnyrigg and Polton) are now eligible to apply; however, Dalkeith and Musselburgh are excluded from the new programme.

Find out more about how to apply at

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