Jo Collins – LEADER Programme Officer
The North York Moors Coast and Hills LEADER Local Action Group event ‘Shaping the Future’ took place on the 24 April at Hutton Le Hole. Delegates spent the morning taking part in a unique tour of the new LEADER funded Community Library and Archive at Ryedale Folk Museum. A tasty soup and sandwich lunch at the Barn Tea Rooms in Hutton-Le-Hole was enjoyed by all.
Hutton-Le-Hole village hall provided the venue for the afternoon’s presentations and discussions. Peter Spencer, Malcolm Bowes and Patrick Holdsworth (from the LEADER Executive Group) gave a summary of some of the recent LEADER project achievements and introduced the afternoon’s discussions. Catriona McLees, Head of Promotion and Tourism at the National Park Authority, gave a presentation about the Moors and More local distinctiveness project – a project designed to boost local business and increase tourism within the North York Moors National Park and the wider LEADER area.
This was followed by lively and constructive discussions on the current and possible future LEADER programme. The main points included:
- The current LEADER funded Small Scale Enhancements scheme is well supported and has a simple and easy application process. The current main LEADER programme had a more difficult application process however this is well supported by staff. This availability of support has enabled the successful delivery of projects.
- A future programme should have a simplified application process and less bureaucracy where possible. There should be more information and support about the application process with capacity building training to assist communities to complete the projects and continue to benefit from them in the future making the projects sustainability beyond the funding.
- A future programme should include funds for economic development support, particularly for new businesses, but in balance with community, and heritage interests.
- Future projects should focus on – enhanced rural broadband provision; greater support for young people perhaps through apprenticeship schemes and with a greater level of involvement in the planning of a new programme; funds focussed on supporting elderly and retired people; and support for social enterprise to benefit communities.
- The current geographical area is about right however it would be good to include the market towns which currently can’t benefit from LEADER funding, and to close up gaps between the different LEADER areas in the country.
- The current Local Action Group itself has an appropriate role however a future programme should try harder to bring in younger members to the Group, to look at improving publicity about the LAG and the LEADER programme, and to increase communication with rural communities.
Thanks very much to all who took part and watch this space for future North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER programme consultation events, and the development of a future LEADER programme for the area.