Argyll & the Islands LEADER

Support is available for projects that benefit the community and economy in the rural areas of Argyll & the Islands.

In regards to applications for grants lower than £35,000, copies of financial accounts for the last two years will be required. Applications for grants higher than £35,000 will need copies from the last three years.

There is a total fund value of £4.86 million. Although there is no official minimum and maximum amount, applicants are advised to observe a minimum amount of £1,000. Every application is assessed on its own merit.


Before You Start

The Argyll & the Islands LEADER Programme is provided as part of the Scottish Rural Development Plan (SDRP) with funding from the EU via the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The programme is managed by the Argyll & the Islands Local Action Group (LAG) which includes Scottish Enterprise, Chambers of Commerce and local community and voluntary organisations.

The Argyll & the Islands LEADER Programme aims to "support community-led economic growth and sustainable rural development within the Argyll & the Islands area". Prospective applicants should pay close attention to the following core objectives:

  • Taking actions to reverse a declining population.
  • The development of a stronger local economy.
  • To broaden the scope of economic activity at a local economy.
  • The creation of long-term sustainable employment opportunities, in particular regards to areas which have been identified as having a fragile economic base.
  • Building upon the unique natural and cultural of the Argyll & the Islands area.

There are three key themes with the Argyll & the Islands LEADER Programme:

  • Working to strengthen the rural economy through maximising the sustainable use of natural, cultural and heritage resources as an economic driver in the area of Argyll & the Islands.
  • Enhancing services and facilities within the area of Argyll & the Islands for the purpose of attracting individuals, families, visitors and investors for the purpose of growing and maintaining economically viable communities.
  • Small business support which includes farm diversification.


Interested parties should contact the funding provider directly in order to discuss any restrictions that may apply.

What You Need To Know

Key Criteria

Eligible applicants include:

  • Constituted community and voluntary organisations.
  • Social enterprises.
  • Micro or small businesses for group projects.
  • Public sector organisations.
  • Individuals - for projects with public support and that implement a local strategy.

Match Funding

There is a 50% invention rate for grants worth over £10,000.

Two types of match funding is available:

  • Private match funding from trusts, donations and personal donations.
  • Public match funding from lottery, local or central government and public bodies.

Match funding should be in the form of a direct cash contribution. Before a formal Offer of Grant is issued, match funding should be secured and the appropriate submitted evidence accepted by the Local Action Group.

Eligible Expenditure

LEADER funding can support capital and revenue costs of eligible projects, including:


  • Site or building acquisition.
  • Professional fees.
  • Site preparation.
  • External and internal services.
  • Physical building works.
  • Essential fixtures and fittings.
  • Environmental improvements.
  • Provision or improvement of community or visitor facilities.
  • Feasibility studies.


  • Staffing costs.
  • Consultancy fees.
  • Travel costs.
  • Lease or rental of premises essential for delivering the project.
  • Purchase or leasing of equipment.
  • Financing of capital costs.
  • Insurance.
  • Operating costs of premises.
  • Marketing.
  • Direct overheads.
  • Childcare costs.
  • Non-recoverable VAT.
  • In-kind contributions.

How To Apply

The next deadline for this scheme will be 16 December 2016.

Interested parties may begin the application process by completing an Expression of Interest form, which may be found on the Argyll & the Islands LEADER website. If this form appears to fit with the Argyll & the Islands LEADER objectives, then the applicant may receive a visit from a staff team member who will go through the project and the application process.