Funding is available for supporting groups who would like to develop projects and ideas with other partner organisation in Scotland, UK or further afield.
If you have an idea that you wish to discuss, please contact a member of the LEADER team. The Scottish Rural Network are also available to provide assistance for those seeking partners to undertake co-operation projects, more information on this can be found on the Scottish Rural Network website.
Applications for co-operation projects are submitted in the same way as other LEADER project applications however your LEADER officer will be able to support you through this process.
Types of Co-operation
1. Preparatory Support - Support for exploring the feasibility and development of the main Cooperation project
2. Inter-territorial Co-operation: Scotland - Projects involving Scottish Local Action Groups (LAGs) only.
3. Inter-territorial Co-operation: UK - Projects involving LAGs in England, Wales and/or Northern Ireland.
4. Transnational Co-operation - Projects between territories in several Member States and/or with territories in third countries, i.e. outside the EU.
- Up to 70% of Total eligible project costs
- Preparatory Projects up to 100% of eligible costs to a maximum of £5000
If your proposal is in line with the Local Development Strategy(ies) of the different LEADER areas where the project will take place then you may wish to access support to allow you to develop your co-operation ideas. However, this is not mandatory and not all co-operation projects will require preparatory support.
You can apply to the LAG for support for application development, engagement with local stakeholders and potential co-operation partners, covering a range of costs, including:
- venue/equipment hire
- translation/interpreters’ fees
- feasibility studies
A formal co-operation partnership should not be in place at the preparatory support application stage. Correspondence from other LAGs indicating interest in a potential co-operation project may help support the need for there to be an actual project following completion for preparatory support. Preparatory support applications are only eligible to the lead applicant to investigate the feasibility of the co-operation project and develop the activities and therefore no partners should be involved at this stage.
Whilst it is preferable that the main co-operation project takes place, receiving preparatory support does not imply an obligation to carry out the project (for example if it proves not to be viable) and therefore the recipient of the preparatory support will not have to repay funding. Evidence will be sought to prove the project is unviable and unfeasible and that attempts were undertaken to make the project work.
The intervention rate for preparatory support will be 100%, subject to a State Aid Assessment, up to a maximum of £5,000 per application. Reasonableness of costs must be demonstrated for all applications.
Co-operation projects have a non-capital (revenue) focus to encourage innovation, feasibility studies and collaboration. Co-operation is an essential element of the LEADER approach and is concerned with adding scale to projects, building social cohesion between people in different areas and unifying them around a common purpose. In the past, actions have tended to focus on capacity building/knowledge exchange, joint working with a spatial and/or thematic focus. As with other project types any co-operation actions are considered eligible if they fit with the Local Development Strategy.
Further information, examples of past co-operation projects and support can be found here.
Co-operation Projects Application Process
The following are the stages of the application for any co-operation project which includes two or more Scottish LAGs. Trans-national projects, which include no other Scottish LAGs, will generally follow the steps below with slight modifications however please contact the LEADER team to discuss this further.
1. Expression of Interest
Prior to submitting any application you must submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) via the Scottish Rural Network website and in doing so identify all the LAG areas that you think your proposal will cover. Submitting an EoI will allow your LAG or other LAGs to check that the proposal is in line with their Local Development Strategies.
Submitting an EoI will also allow the Scottish Rural Network Support Unit to contact you and, where appropriate, work with you on developing your idea and finding potential partners (particularly in other parts of the UK & EU).
2. Meeting with LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGs) and partners
This stage will involve meeting with all partners and LAGs to discuss the project and way forward. It will also include discussing how the project will take place, what it will involve, timescale, roles and also the LAGs roles and responsibilities including who will be the lead applicant and lead LAG to manage the application and project. Discussions will also take place to agree the LEADER intervention rate between all LEADER partners.
Partners will begin developing and designing the project, compiling and creating all relevant documentation for the application and Co-operation Partnership Agreement.
3. Application Submission and Decision
The lead applicant group compiles and submits the online application and documentation on behalf of all partners. The LEADER team will be able to support you through this process. Once submitted the LEADER LAGs will review the application to come to a decision which will either be to Approve, Reject or Defer the project and you will be notified of the decision following the meeting.
4. Approval and Co-operation Partnership Agreement
If funding is approved, the Lead Applicant for the project will receive the offer of grant which will require to be signed and returned to the LEADER office before the project can begin. This will be accompanied by a partnership agreement which will also be required to be completed, agreed and signed by all parties.
The lead applicant will manage the project, collate monitoring information and submit claims for reimbursement of funding. LEADER funding is paid retrospectively and therefore evidence of defrayal including invoices and a full audit trail to demonstrate payment will be required. The LEADER team will provide guidance on how to complete the claims, documentation and the evidence required.
The final 10% of the approved LEADER grant cannot be claimed until after the project has completed and submission of the final project claim.
All standard LEADER scheme project requirements also apply to co-operation projects; this includes complying with all procurement and publicity requirements. Failure to do so may result in loss of the grant or some items becoming ineligible. Information on this will be provided with your grant contract.