Nominations wanted for £3m LEADER group

The North York Moors stands to benefit from development funds.  Pic: Eric Houlder of Carleton.
The North York Moors stands to benefit from development funds. Pic: Eric Houlder of Carleton.
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Volunteers are wanted to help decide how best to use millions of pounds of eagerly awaited European funds to develop rural communities in North Yorkshire.

The North York Moors, Coast and Hills (NYMCH) LEADER Programme helped more than 200 projects between 2008 and 2013, but the European Parliament has been taking its time to confirm its decision over another round of funding.

Proposals for a new LEADER Programme to run for six years from January 1, 2015 were submitted to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at the beginning of September.

A final decision is finally expected next month and NYMCH programme managers are keen to hit the ground running by lining up 11 representatives from the voluntary and private sectors to join an Executive Group which will decide how around £3 million is spent.

The Executive Group, which also includes representatives from district, borough and county councils, Rural Action Yorkshire and Tees Valley Rural Community Council, will decide which project applications receive funding, get involved with national and international cooperation projects and influence the overall direction of the LEADER Programme.

Howard Wallis, who sat on the Executive Group for the previous NYMCH LEADER Programme, said: “Being a Member of the LEADER Executive Group gives you the chance to put your specialist and local knowledge to use in making the most of opportunities for the area. It’s tremendously rewarding to be involved in decision making for a programme that can make such a big difference at a local level.”

Four members are needed from the voluntary and community sector with a further seven from the private sector. Representatives for the latter will need to demonstrate experience or knowledge in the fields of agriculture, tourism or forestry or represent a small business or social enterprise.

Nominations need to be received by October 31 and elections will be held in November. Further information and nomination forms are available at www.moorscoastandhills.org.uk or by calling 01439 772700.