Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Can LEADER accept scanned signatures on the Application Documents/Claim Forms?
YES we are happy to accept scanned copies of the LEADER documentation, however please make sure that the relevant sections have been signed and dated accordingly. LEADER applicants must retain the Original copies for audit purposes.
How long does it take to receive a decision on our LEADER Full Application?
Notification on the decision made by the Local Action Group (LAG) on your Expression of Interest (EOI) and Full Application will be sent to you via email within 7 working days of the LAG Meeting it was discussed at. Notification will be sent to the email address you provided on your Application Form so please ensure that your details are correct on all the forms.
Can I use Volunteer Time as Match Funding?
YES, the Volunteer Time of any individual who directly gives their time towards the LEADER project can be used as Match Funding as part of your project costs but they should not be the only source of Match Funding in a given project. All the hours spent directly on the project activity must be logged by using appropriate Volunteer Timesheets (PLANED can provide templates where necessary) and the name, volunteer role and Volunteer Rate being used must appear on the Timesheets. All individual Timesheets must be signed by the volunteer and authorised as a true record by a senior member of your organisation. More information on the Volunteer Rates can be provided by the LEADER Team at PLANED.
Can several businesses group together and put in an application?
YES. We generally welcome collaborative projects where several businesses will benefit. The applicant needs to be a ‘legal entity’ capable of signing any grant contract. In practice, this may mean that the application comes from a lead applicant, with subsidiary agreements between all of the partners, or there may be a new company set up (and registered with the RPA) to bid for the grant and deliver the project.
What if a business wants to use a preferred/local supplier?
A preferred supplier can be used, however if that supplier does not provide the most cost effective quote, then any grant may only be based upon the cheapest quote and the applicant would have to cover 100% of the difference.
Is it possible to request a grant for more or less than the min and max grant offers?
The minimum grant level is set to reflect the rigour of the application process and the time implications of this. It also reflects the administration time and costs for the Accountable Body. The actual level set is down to the decision of the Local Action Group(LAG) but it should be considered very unlikely that outline grant applications below the minimum level would be invited to a Full Application. The maximum grant level is also set by the individual LAG. As LEADER has limited funds, it should be considered unlikely that the declared maximum would be exceeded unless there were exceptional benefits AND monies available. In some cases the maximum grant that can be offered will be limited by what are known as the State Aid Regulations. If this applies, the limit will depend upon the funding an applicant has previously received such that the total cannot exceed the equivalent of £180,000 over any three year period.
What obligations do I have with any equipment purchased as part of my grant?
You must retain, and use for its intended purpose, all such equipment for a period of 5 years after payment of your grant. If you sell or otherwise dispose of the funded items during this period you must notify us immediately as some repayment of grant may be required.
If I use an agent or consultant to help me put together my grant application, can this cost be included as part of my grant?
NO! Only professional help directly related to the project itself, rather than the application process or any statutory obligations, such as planning permission, can be considered. You can pay for an agent to put your application together but these costs cannot be grant-aided under the LEADER rules. However, your LEADER Project Officer is available to help guide you through the application process.
Will a LEADER Project Officer visit my project or business before my grant is awarded?
Yes, at least one site visit will take place before your Full Application is considered by the LAG’s Decision Panel.
Bear in mind that visits by the Rural Payments Agency or its representatives can also take place up to 5 years after your grant award.
I’ve been offered a good deal on a piece of equipment, can I buy it now and include it in my grant application?
NO! Any expenditure or commitment to spend made before the effective date of your grant contract is automatically ineligible. If you purchase anything or do any work before you have a fully signed grant contract you will not be able to claim grant for that item or work. Similarly, if you place an order for works or goods before receiving your contract those items will be ineligible for support.