Helping turn plans into profit

Amy Thomas – North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme Manager

North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme logoIt’s great to be able to start a new year with some good news – so we are very pleased to say that the North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme is now open for business again.

LEADER funding is for projects that create jobs and help businesses grow and which therefore benefit the rural economy.

Between now and September 2018 the LEADER Programme in the North York Moors, Coast and Hills area is looking to support applications for projects or activity under the following four priorities:

  1. Farm Productivity;
  2. Micro and Small Business & Farm Diversification;
  3. Rural Tourism; and
  4. Forestry Productivity.

Farm Productivity
As an important and significant economic sector in the wider North York Moors area, the Programme wants to support the agricultural sector to grow and become more profitable. Applications under this priority need to help improve your farms productivity. Examples of potential activities include:

  • The purchase of equipment to improve the efficiency of use of water, energy, fertilizer, and animal feeds such as LED lighting in livestock sheds,
    specialist drills and crop robotics;
  • Support for businesses which process, market or develop agricultural products both on and off farm holdings, for example food and drink businesses and butchery facilities; or
  • Improvements to animal health and welfare for example gait analysis systems, mobile handling systems, and electronic weight systems linked to EID (electronic identification) readers.

Pickering Market Place

Micro and Small Businesses
LEADER wants to help establish, support and grow micro and small businesses in the area. Investments can be made which will help you produce more or something new, or help you access new markets or link up with other businesses in the area. All applications will need to show that the investment will directly result in increased employment opportunities and / or growth of the business. Farm diversification activities are also eligible.

Rural Tourism
Tourism is another key element of our Blue plaque - Brompton, near Scarboroughlocal economy. The LEADER Programme wants to support tourism businesses to improve their offer to visitors, to be more innovative in the use of technology, and to extend the season which will increase footfall and visitor spending in the area. Visitor attractions, facilities, products and services can all be considered. To be successful your application will need to show that jobs will be created and that the economy will benefit as a result of any funding being awarded.

Forestry Productivity
Our fourth priority is forestry. LEADER wants to support forestry contracting businesses or private forestry holdings requiring equipment and machinery to help produce, extract or process both timber and non-timber products. Continuing with the economic theme of the Programme, your application will need to show that LEADER funding will help create employment opportunities, and add value to the timber / forest products, as well as improve woodland management.

Forestry management in the North York Moors. Copyright NYMNPA.Our area has inspiring landscapes, unique attractions, notable assets and resourceful people – LEADER funding can help make more of these benefits. If you have plans for your farm, your business, your community, it would be well worth having a look at what LEADER is offering.

Full details on how to apply, including the Outline Application (and a list of eligible / ineligible equipment), can be found on our website – www.moorscoastandhills.org.uk

Our website also has a lot more information on LEADER, but if you have any questions or queries, or would like to talk through a potential project or application in advance of submitting an Outline Application, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

LEADER funding confirmation

Amy Thomas – North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme Manager

After months of preparation and much anticipation, a couple of weeks ago we heard the news we had been waiting for – Defra confirmed that our bid for a new LEADER Programme in the North York Moors, Coast and Hills area has been successful!

 By Mike KiplingWe have been allocated just over £2.3 million to support projects and activities over the next six years which will deliver positive benefits to the local economy particularly through the creation of employment opportunities and the development of local business. We received the third highest funding allocation in England, and with 80 Programmes approved in total across the country, this was a fantastic outcome for us.

LEADER Programme priorities for this round are:

  • Farm Productivity
  • Micro and Small Enterprise and Farm Diversification
  • Rural Tourism
  • Rural Services
  • Culture and Heritage
  • Forestry Productivity

Hovingham Market by Chris J ParkerThe Programme is due to be officially launched in summer 2015 and we will be looking for projects to come forward under the six priorities from this point. Details on eligibility, criteria and how to apply for each round of funding will be on our website.

The LEADER Executive Group (individuals from the local area representing local communities, the business sector, tourism, forestry and agriculture) will oversee all grant applications and make decisions about how best to allocate the funding. The Group will also design and implement a number of larger scale sector specific support projects which were identified during the consultation process last year.

Many thanks to all our partners and members of the Steering Group whose commitment to the Programme and the area helped us achieve this welcome outcome. 

View of Saltburn by Mike NicholasNow we’re looking forward to delivering the Programme…

To keep up to date with the Programme as it develops and to receive news of upcoming opportunities – you might want to join our Local Action Group (LAG) – so please contact us. 

Map

People, Places and Projects

Amy Thomas – North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme Manager

After five years of work we’ve made it to the end of the 2008-2013 North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with our fantastic LEADER Programme (shame on you) it’s been a tale of projects and people, places and the other dreaded ‘p’ – paperwork! Basically, the Programme provided funding for innovative and sustainable rural development projects under three themes: Basic Services, Village Renewal & Tourism, Conservation & Heritage.

With memories of the last Programme already beginning to fade, I thought this would be the ideal opportunity to share some of the highlights and at the same time to keep the idea of LEADER alive as we move rather quickly towards our next Programme.

Back in 2008 with five years stretching ahead of us, we started out on our LEADER adventure full of enthusiasm and high hopes. It has to be said that the end result was everything we’d hoped it would be and more. It’s been a journey which has not only had the pleasure and privilege in making a small contribution to so many projects and communities, but has provided me (and my colleagues I’m sure!) with enormous job satisfaction.

Over the years a huge number of people have been involved in the LEADER Programme delivering projects in their village or as a member of our Local Action Group and/or Executive Group.

The Executive Group have played a vital role making decisions on many aspects of the Programme. Many of the Executive were local volunteers who gave their time and skills freely, and acquitted themselves exceptionally well to the task at hand.

Esk Pearl Mussel VisitAlong with the hard work of assessing and approving project applications, the Executive got stuck in to days negotiating the muddy banks of the River Esk to see some of the work done by the Esk Pearl Mussel & Salmon Recovery Project, trying their hand at a spot of dowsing with the Mulgrave Community Research Project, and inspecting the orchards and production unit of Husthwaite’s now famous apple juice and cider. These visits brought individual projects to life and gave us all the chance to really see the positive contributions being made to local life through LEADER funding.

The projects we have been able to support have provided us with many great stories to share. Our first training project, the Yorkshire Moors Agricultural Apprenticeship Scheme (YMAAS) took on their first group of seven apprentices in 2009. Following the successful completion of their apprenticeships, all seven young people moved on to further education or employment. YMAAS has continued and are now beginning to work with their third set of apprentices, and are frequently held up nationally as a model of good practice.YMAAS

More than 20 communities were supported by the LEADER funded Community Access Project and Martyn Williams (the Project Officer) to create or improve footpaths around their villages. These new circular or linear routes are providing safe new routes to school for children, creating local visitor amenities and have meant the upgrading of a number of footpaths to multi-user routes at some of the National Park’s most popular locations.  

Following the identification of a new circular route around Coxwold, residents rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in, helping with everything from installing gates to improving surfacing.Community Access Project in Coxwold

Many of the smallest projects assisted (usually through the LEADER funded Small Scale Enhancement Schemes) have been located in some of the most beautiful parts of our area and have given us an insight into some fascinating hidden gems. To name just a few, the conservation work at Castle Howard’s Exclamation Gates, at Howsham Mill and at Handale Abbey, along with the new interpretation panels at Egton Mortuary Chapel and Warren Moor Mine, Kildale are all well worth a visit.Egton Mortuary Chapel

The people who made each project happen are often the lynch pin within communities and so were crucial to the Programme. Without them we would never have been able to have achieved all we have. The people behind the projects never failed to amaze me with their dedication and commitment. I’ve seen them do everything from making tea and scones for fundraising to digging up concrete village hall floors. The same people have also been the ones filling in the forms and I’m sure the paperwork has been tedious but it is unfortunately always an essential part of funding. However despite the difficulties and the highs and lows that some projects go through, I’d like to think that the pride of opening the doors of their newly refurbished village hall, selling their first bottle of apple juice or seeing their village come together to celebrate centuries of traditions reminded them of why they got involved, and in doing so how they became a part of the local LEADER story. Gilling East VH Opening

So…the five years have flown by in the blink of an eye and some tremendous projects have emerged, but instead of mourning the end of our LEADER Programme, I’d much rather see this as an opportunity to embark on our next exciting chapter. We’re going to take all we’ve learnt and use this to build our next Programme. Although it is likely to be fundamentally different in terms of the projects we’ll be able to support, it will still hold at its core the traditional LEADER principles of co-operation, networking and innovation achieved through bottom up local development.

We shall relish the challenge of developing our new Programme and the more people who get involved, the better the end result will undoubtedly be! If this all sounds like something you’d like to know more about or would like to know how you can get involved, please get in touch 

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We will apply to Defra in September to have a new LEADER Programme for our area and will hear by the end of the year if we have been successful.

Induction into National Park thinking

Kirsty Brown – Conservation Project Assistant, and Alex Cripps – Conservation Graduate Trainee

Plas Tan Y Bwlch Training Centre

Plas Tan Y Bwlch Training Centre

In April we attended a three day National Park induction course at Plas Tan y Bwlch in Snowdonia National Park. The course is held every now and again for new National Park staff and is aimed at sharing the National Park ethos and making connections between different Parks.

Some of the main themes we considered included UK National Park legal purposes which are:      

  • To conserve & enhance natural beauty, wildlife & cultural heritage.
  • To improve understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities by the public.

National Parks also have a duty to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities. If these purposes ever come into conflict, the first purpose should be paramount.

UK National Parks are about cultural heritage and character rather than wilderness per se, and they fall into the United Nation’s Protected Areas Category V. Most UK National Parks are man-made and man-managed landscapes.

We looked at a number of case studies focusing on the village of Beddgelert –

  • Rhododendrons: There is a conflict of interests between tourism bringing coaches of visitors in to admire the masses of rhododendrons on the mountainside in flower over a few short weeks a year, versus conservation of the native species by the National Park through invasive plant species removal. National Park staff in Snowdonia think they have gradually won local people over to backing the protection of their native plants through education on their benefits, including a far longer flowering period from heather!
  • Gelert’s Grave: The story of a faithful dog and its final resting place is not entirely true, being based on myth and legend, yet tourists flock from all over the world to visit the dog’s ‘grave’, sometimes in floods of tears. Should the National Park Authority as a public body always strive to convey the facts/provide correct information, or is it fair enough to encourage the colour and character surrounding the local culture to thrive?
  • Tourism: In small villages parking and road capacity can be a big issue. Where as some locals want to increase tourism and depend on it for their livelihoods, others are fed up with the stress and hassle in the high-season around their homes. What stance should the National Park Authority take?
  • Second homes: Many of the villages in Snowdonia National Park include a substantial number of second homes, which have artificially raised local house-prices, resulting in locals being unable to afford housing in their own patch. Affordable housing schemes have been introduced, however often the resulting architecture/styling is not so aesthetically pleasing as the traditional buildings. Is this an addressable?

One of the most interesting projects in action involves the National Trust who have purchased a lake-side farm in Snowdonia National Park with the aim of taking on an apprentice annually to run the farm. The intention is to encourage young people to take up farming because farming is in decline amongst the young, and allow them to practice before they take on a ‘real’ farm. 

Our discussions revealed how similar the issues are across all of our National Parks, and the overall conclusion was that we need to work together to generate ideas and resolve problems. As National Park staff, together we have a wide range of experience, and cover vast tracts of land and water-way in the UK. Where there is an issue, another National Park has probably already tackled it and we should be linking up to move forward in each of our own Parks.

View of Snowdonia National Park

View of Snowdonia National Park