CS - Investing In The Future Of The Rural Community
From 1991 the European Commission established a new rural development approach called ‘LEADER’. Through this initiative funding was given to community led, autonomous, local action groups that could invest in local projects of their choice based on a multi-annual plan within a framework of rules and regulations. Another major departure from previous programmes of this nature was that all sectors of the rural community, including but not exclusive to the farming sector, were to be included as potential beneficiaries of support.
In 2007 the LEADER approach became one of the four main axis of the European Rural Development Programme. In this paper the authors focus on the features of one of the most successful local action groups in the South of Ireland, its structure, experience and extraordinary impact to date and outline the organisations plans for the coming years against a background of growing economic uncertainty.
Keywords: LEADER, European, rural, development, community, investment.