How to Apply

If you are interested in applying for LEADER funding there is a process, as outlined below and shown here, which you will need to follow. Throughout the process the LEADER team will support you in submitting your application, therefore, if you have any questions regarding how to apply please contact the LEADER team.

Stage 1 – Expression of Interest 

If you are interested in applying for LEADER funding the first step is to complete an Expression of Interest Form on the Scottish Rural Network website. You must answer all the questions on the form (with the required fields). This form will then automatically be forwarded to the LEADER team who will check that the project, and activities, you are proposing appear to:

  • fit with the priorities of the Local Development Strategy
  • be suitable for LEADER funding, and
  • the level of funding which is being requested is reasonable.

The LEADER team will then contact you with feedback - you may be asked to provide further information or be invited to meet with a member of the team in order to discuss the project further. If the project appears to fit with these basic, initial criteria for LEADER funding, you will be invited to complete a full application for funding. Please note that being invited to submit a full application is not a guarantee of grant funding.

Stage 2 – Application for Funding

Should your project progress to the application stage, you will be forwarded the official LEADER application documents for completion. 

The LEADER team will be available to assist and support you in the application process.

Stage 3 – Assessment of the Application

Once you have submitted your application, the application will be verified and then assessed by the Local Action Group.  The Local Action Group assessment considers factors such as how closely the project meets the aims of the Orkney Islands LEADER Programme, engagement of the community in the project, the sustainability of the project and how innovative the project is. View the assessment scoring criteria used by the Local Action Group.

If you are seeking funding of less than £10,000, there is a fast track process for assessments, whereby, the application can be submitted at any time, with decisions made on a rolling basis without the need to wait until the next Local Action Group Meeting.

Assessments of applications seeking funding of more than £10,000 will be made at the next Local Action Group Meeting.

Upcoming meeting dates and deadlines for applications.

Once the LAG has assessed the application, you will be informed of the decision immediately.

Stage 4 – Offer of Funding

For those projects which are successful, an offer letter will be sent, detailing the funding offer, which must be accepted in writing within 30 days of the date on which the offer letter was issued. The project must not commence until after the offer letter has been signed and returned to the LEADER office.

Stage 5 – Project Implementation and Claims

Once the offer has been accepted, the project will be required to show evidence of commencement by the date agreed in the offer letter. The project will be required to make claims for the funding in arrears, with guidance being provided on how to complete the claims and documentation required.


The final funding round for the 2014-2020 LEADER Programme will take place on 6 February 2019. No new Expressions of Interest can be accepted and the programme is now closed to new applications.

Applicants who have had their Expression of Interest approved must have their draft application submitted on the electronic LARCS system by 1pm on Thursday 15 November, and their final application submitted by 1pm on Thursday 29 November 2019. All final applications must be accompanied by proof of approved planning permission (where required) and proof of match funding.

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