LEADER (Rural Development Programme)

LEADER is a rural development funding programme available to people and communities who want to develop enterprise, community and environmental projects. There are three themes and nine sub-themes eligible for funding under the current LEADER programme as follows: 

Economic Development Enterprise Development & Job Creation 

  • Rural Tourism 
  • Enterprise Development 
  • Rural Towns 
  • Broadband 

Social Inclusion 

  • Basic services targeted at hard-to-reach communities 
  • Rural Youth 

Rural Environment 

  • Protection and sustainable use of water resources 
  • Protection and improvement of local biodiversity 
  • Development of renewable energy 


For more information about the Transitional LEADER Programme, please see here

For more information about the EURI programme, please see here

Type of Investment Private Applicant Community Applicant
Capital Investment Grants – Buildings, renovations, equipment etc. 75% to a maximum grant of €150,000* 75% to a maximum grant of €300,000*
Analysis & Development Grants (Feasibility studies, prototypes etc.) 75% to a maximum grant of €30,000* 90% to a maximum grant of €30,000*
Training Grants – Tailored training that does not form part of the national curriculum. 100% to a maximum grant of €150,000* 100% to a maximum grant of €200,000*

Please note that these are the maximum grants available, and they may not be awarded in all cases. 

LEADER Food Initiative 

There is also a dedicated national LEADER fund for food and drink businesses and projects that benefit the food and drink sector.

For more details on the LEADER Food Initiative , please see here 

LEADER support is available to a variety of applicants including: 

  • New Businesses 
  • Existing Businesses 
  • Business Partnerships 
  • Companies Limited by Shares 
  • Formalised Community/Voluntary Groups 
  • Companies Limited by Guarantee 
  • Trusts 
  • Social Enterprises 

If your business, group or organisation does not appear on this list, please talk to a Project Officer to see if you are eligible to apply.

To give you an idea of the type of applicants and projects that have been supported in the past, please find a link to LEADER grants approved under the LEADER 2014-2020 programme as at 31 December 2020 

SWMDC implements LEADER in south and west Mayo, including Gaeltacht areas.

See our LEADER area map here

For more information, please contact:

Norita CleshamLEADER Community Officernclesham@southmayo.com087 611 4072
Sue O’TooleSenior LEADER Enterprise Officer sotoole@southmayo.com087 254 9470

Apply for a LEADER grant

Applying for LEADER funding is a two-step process. First you must complete the Expression of Interest form (available here – insert link/pdf). Once we receive your Expression of Interest form, your project will be assessed for eligibility. If your project is eligible in principle, a LEADER Project Officer will work with you to develop your funding application.