Amy Thomas – North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme Manager
The North York Moors National Park Authority doesn’t only try and conserve the natural and historic environment of the North York Moors; the Authority also has a duty to ‘seek to foster the economic and social well being of local communities’. Often, conserving the environment and supporting local communities can go hand in hand.
We deliver the North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme across the National Park and the wider area around, providing matched funding for community lead rural development projects. LEADER is a European fund for rural communities. Our Programme’s priorities are basic services, village renewal & tourism, and conservation & heritage. Our Programme has been running since 2009 and all the funding is now committed – which is good news because it means we’ve had our money’s worth and we won’t have to give any back.
The North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme itself officially ends at the beginning of 2014. Hopefully we can secure a future LEADER funded programme for the area after 2015 when a new Rural Development Plan for England will be in place. Between the end of the current Programme and the start of any future programme there will be a transition period with work required to demonstrate the need for a new programme locally through a Local Development Strategy, to identify delivery improvements and efficiencies, and to develop new relationships e.g. with Local Enterprise Partnerships. We will keep you posted.
Meanwhile, Jo Collins our new LEADER Programme Officer started in March. Jo will be working on the monitoring and evaluation of the current projects, and organising community consultations to provide information for the whole Programme evaluation and the transition into a future LEADER programme.
Examples of recent project progress have included a start on the new multi use games facility in Loftus, and major improvement works to Fadmoor and Wilton Village Halls. After a new heating system and double glazing was installed in Fadmoor Village Hall, the community were able to enjoy possibly their first warm Christmas party ever.
There are a couple of upcoming LEADER Programme events –
- a Local Action Group (LAG) meeting at Hutton le Hole on 24 April 2013, where LAG members can start to get involved in the process to develop a future programme by letting us know what they think about the current programme and what a new programme should look like and include;
- and a joint final LAG event with the Yorkshire Dales LEADER Programme on 16 October 2013 at Fountains Abbey at which the final report and evaluation of the two programmes will be presented – more details to come nearer the time.
Everyone is welcome – but booking is required. Local Action Groups are made up of individuals who broadly represent the interests of the LEADER Programme area and its’ communities, and steer the policies and strategies of each Programme.