AS we went to press on Friday night, we gathered more extra information from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs on their LEADER programme which provides funding to eligible equine projects nationwide (2017-2020).
Here is what the Department's press office had to say on the types of projects that may get funding as well as the amount of funding available per project and how to go about applying for a grant.
LEADER funding is delivered through Local Action Groups in each of 28 LEADER sub-regional areas around the country. The sub-regional areas are, in the main, aligned with the County boundaries, with County Cork divided into three separate sub-regional areas.
In order for a project to be eligible for LEADER funding, it must be compatible with (i) the funding themes developed for the programme (e.g. economic development, enterprise development and job creation) and (ii) the priority actions outlined in the Local Development Strategy developed for the sub-regional area concerned. It is expected that support for ancillary activities for the race and sport horse industries will contribute, in particular, to enterprise development and rural tourism.
Examples of ancillary activities for the provision of services to the race and sport horse industries include:
• Equestrian Centre/ Riding school/Livery yard capital projects
• Measures that promote rural tourism such as agricultural shows
• Measures that enhance access to bridle ways on public and private lands.
Where ancillary activities include infrastructure, such infrastructure must be primarily for public use, regardless of whether a fee is charged or not. The project promoter must confirm annually that the facility is being used for the intended purpose – this may include a register of public users, annual accounts showing income from external users or advertisement/publicity that demonstrates the public use of the facility
LEADER can provide funding of up to €200,000 per project, with the possibility to provide up to €500,000 for certain community-based projects. The overall level of funding that will be provided to projects involving ancillary activities for the race and sport horse industries will be decided by the Local Action Group in each area.
Any person or group interested in applying for LEADER funding should contact the LEADER Local Action Group in their area for further information and assistance.
Contact details for each Local Action Group is available on the Department’s website http://www.ahrrga.gov.ie/app/uploads/2017/01/contact-details-of-local-action-groups.pdf