More funding for LEADER grants – July 2018

A favourable exchange rate means that the Southern Dorset Local Action Group has more funding for grants to give to rural businesses and communities across west and south Dorset. But time is of the essence to get your grant before Brexit.

Don’t miss out on this last call for projects from the EU funded LEADER programme to grow the rural economy in west Dorset, Purbeck and Portland.

The Local Action Group has already awarded grants to a variety of innovative capital projects, such as:

  • rural businesses expanding and needing some help to create additional space and buy new equipment;
  • projects attracting tourists to venues away from the busy coastline;
  • a new business idea looking for capital investment to start;
  • village residents wanting to create new facilities for the community.

Grants range from £5,000 to £140,000 are available from 40% to 100% of the eligible costs, but projects must be able to finish before the end of September 2019.

Talk to Sarah or Melita from the Dorset LEADER team to find out if your project could be eligible. Call 01305 225525 or find out more about the Southern Dorset Local Action at

Deadlines for Expressions of Interest 30 August 2018 and 4 October 2018.

Turn your great project idea into a great LEADER project

How can we help turn your great project idea into a great LEADER project?

As early as possible;

  •  talk through your project with one of the Programme Team
  • look at Project hints & tips on the noticeboard
  • book an application surgery.  Surgeries are short (up to 45 minute) one-to-one chats to discuss their project in more detail.  The surgery will help you establish whether your project could be eligible or answer any questions you may have about the application form.  They are held across both Dorset LAG areas and you can book a space at any surgery.  Booking is essential. To book call 01305 225525 or email

2018 Surgery Venues

13 February – Gillingham

27 February – Sherborne

15 March Verwood

26 March – Dorchester

9 April – Wareham

24 April – Beaminster

Did you know LEADER can fund community buildings in Dorset?

LEADER provides grants to support rural economic growth and job creation, and there’s often an overlap between these aims and the work and activities of community organisations. Grants of up to 40% are available for capital costs that support new developments – and exceptionally, more where there is no direct benefit for the applying organisation.

Village Hall

Whitchurch Village hall received £30,000 of LEADER funding towards the cost of an extension. This allowed a rural village pre-school to operate from the hall, and improved facilities generally, attracting more users.

Other funds are available that are useful in themselves, but can also complement LEADER funding: for match funding and for short term loans to cover costs before claiming for LEADER. See links below for some examples.

See the Dorset LEADER website for more info, and get in touch to discuss your project idea

Other sources of funding:


Loans and other funding approaches

Quotes for your project


Hurrah! You’ve been accepted to full application with your project, more than likely the first thing you will be thinking about is getting the large number of quotes together but before you start please read the information below (taken from the handbook!).

When you submit your full application to the Dorset LEADER team we begin a very thorough quote checking process – there are over 20 things we check each quote for, if you don’t follow the rules below then we’ll send the quote back to you asking for more information; delaying your application.

How many quotes do I need for each item?

A note about VAT – the thresholds below are based on what you will actually pay – so if you are VAT registered and able to reclaim VAT, it will be the net price of the item; if not it will be the gross price. If you can’t supply the number of quotes required below then contact your sponsor to discuss.

Value of item or service How to show value for money
£1,500 or less 2 quotes or references to 2 catalogue listings (including online suppliers)
£1,501 to £10,000 3 quotes or references to 3 catalogue listings (including online suppliers)
£10,001 – £50,000 3 quotes or 2 quotes and a reference to a catalogue listing (including online suppliers)
£50,001 or more 3 quotes

General Points

Quotes must;

  • Come from different suppliers
  • Come from suppliers that are not linked to the applicant or the applicant’s business
  • Be comparable in terms of quality, size, quantity, units and specification
  • Be still valid and dated within the last 6 months
  • Include an itemised break down of costs, if this is not possible then the applicant must provide the specification that the supplier quoted against
  • Include the suppliers name/a contact name, address and telephone number
  • Include company registration number (if they are a limited company)
  • Include the VAT number (if they are VAT registered)
  • Be addressed to the applicant or their business

Print outs from online catalogues or photocopies of paper catalogues are acceptable, they must conform to all of the above and also show the date they were printed/copied and the full web address/page number.


Have a look at an example: Quotes.pdf

The SDLAG sets a challenge to support rural communities, local products and tourism

bc_postbox-c-dorset-leaderThe Local Action Group has also identified several areas for specific support and on the 7 November launched a competitive challenge to residents, community groups and enterprises to help it meet three of these objectives.

Call 1 Local Food & Drink Innovation: Up to £40,000 is available for one project to strengthen locally produced, food and drink supply chains, locally and further afield. The local food and drink sector in Dorset is vibrant and dynamic, with enormous potential to drive growth and create employment. Some locations within the LAG are already well served with food and drink events and festivals but the wider ability of the sector to raise its profile in and out of the county and for producers to deliver cost-effective, consistency for buyers, requires further development. The closing date for first stage applications is 6 January 2017. Download the Call Paper for the Food & Drink Project

Call 2 Community Places, Community Hubs: Up to £183,000 is available to be shared across several projects. These projects will support rural communities to create new provision for rural services across multiple or shared services. Residents of the LAG area tell us that essential rural services are under threat and in decline. Pressures from a wide range of factors contribute to the difficulties faced by rural residents to sustain existing services. Many look for support to help create imaginative solutions to ensure the survival of their community shop, pub, post office, library, doctor’s surgery, youth centre, day care centre, pre-school, etc. The closing date for first stage applications is 2 March 2017. Download the Call Paper for the Community Project

Call 3 Celebrate Rural Dorset: Up to £40,000 is available for one proposal to work with rural communities researching and delivering innovative visitor interpretation. The LAG sees considerable scope for adding value to the remarkable natural, historic and cultural heritage of southern Dorset. The closing date for first stage applications is 6 January 2016. Download the Call Paper to Celebrate rural Dorset

The calls are competitive and only those which meet the set criteria will be invited to make an application.

Project hints & tips: preparing a cash flow forecast

Notes on preparing a cash flow

A cash flow forecast is a standard tool to help organisations plan and manage their income and expenditure.  It is a normal part of any business plan for both commercial and non-profit companies.  A forecast normally covers a 12 month period – but it is good practice to up-date this on a monthly basis with the actual amounts, once you have got the basic information the updating of the cash flow is relatively simple and a really useful tool for business planning. For your LEADER grant it shows us when the ‘outputs’ from the project will occur e.g. increase in sales.


Step 1

  • First, gather your bank statements and records for your last financial year.
  • Go through each month and work out what money went in and out of your accounts in that month. Record the amount of income received and expenditure paid out in the month by category/type of expenditure. Your accounts may already have this information in them.
  • Add rows to the cash flow statement if necessary to account for all of your income and expenditure


Do this exercise in some detail – even if this is tedious, this will be the worst of it.  Remember that you are accounting for the month in which money actually left or entered your accounts.  And not when an invoice was received or issued.  The result is that you will get a picture of the last financial year. Use last year as a template for the cash flow moving forward.


Step 2

Now think about forecasting for the future.


  • What differences in income do you expect? And what differences in the timing of income do you expect?
  • Look at your expenditure. What changes are you expecting in your expenditure?  And what differences in timing do you expect?


Step 3

Once you have your forecast income and expenditure,

  • You need to include the opening cash balance amount as at the beginning of the year as a starting point for the month in your cash flow statement. The LEADER template should then automatically update the closing balance and other totals.

By Jessica Saunters, Project Officer for the Northern Dorset Local Action Group

Project hints & tips: Applying for a tourism accommodation grant

by Sarah Harbige,  Dorset LEADER Programme Manager

Funding for tourist accommodation projects is low priority for Southern Dorset LAG. As a result there are more hoops to jump through to be considered eligible for our support:

We are often asked what you should think about to help make your project a higher priority. Ask yourself:

  • Can my project show strong economic benefits? – that is does it create year round, high quality employment (at least 1FTE for every £25K of funding and increase GVA by 5% per annum
  • Are my proposed accommodation units of sufficient quality?
  • Is there demand for additional accommodation in my locality and will the the impact on my competition be low?
  • Is LEADER funding really my last resort? – I have exhausted all other possibilities.

The project also needs to ensure that it does not create second homes. It would also be a stronger fit with our local priorities if it supported tourism sector growth in inland areas.

Any questions: contact James (01305 225525) to talk through your project in more detail or come along to our next roadshow.