For rural communities, the EU funded LEADER programme (an acronym of Liaisons Entre Actions de Développement de l'Economie Rurale) has served as a tool in order to increase support to local rural community and business networks to build knowledge and skills, and encourage innovation and cooperation in order to tackle local development objectives. However, while there is substantial information available on the type of LEADER projects, their financial budgets and their delivery, there is little information available in Scotland on the actual difference LEADER and its projects have made to life in rural communities.
This report aims to evaluate the process of LEADER in Scotland and to what extent LEADER has impacted rural communities. The research underlying this report was divided into two phases – firstly, scoping available quantitative data on LEADER.
Secondly, findings of the data analysis were used to conduct focus groups. The focus groups were delivered in four different Local Action Groups (LAGs) that according to the data analysis of phase one present the most interesting cases. The aim of each session was to collect "stories" and experiences to understand from a local perspective what type of projects have had an impact on rural communities and why. Additionally, the focus groups help understand why certain projects presented challenges.
The report concludes with recommendations for the Scottish Government and relevant public bodies.
Email: Eva Kleinert