Now that we have been processing outline applications for several months, we thought it would be useful to share the answers to questions that come up again and again, with potential applicants. We’ve also noticed that there are some sections on the expression of interest form that are often completed incorrectly which slows down processing the form.
Q. Can I use the grant to buy a delivery van/forklift/tractor?
A. No. Only specialised vehicles are eligible. Please speak to us if you require guidance.
Q. Can I use the grant to buy furniture?
A. No. Furniture and any loose items would not be eligible costs, even if they are part of a larger project.
Q. Can the grant be used to purchase land or buildings?
A. While these costs are eligible under some of the six LEADER priorities, it is very unlikely that the LAG would approve such a project. There may be other costs associated with the project that could be eligible e.g. building works to remodel a building.
Q. Can I apply for a grant for a landscaping project?
A. No. Some landscaping costs are eligible but only if they are part of a larger project.
Q. Can I use cash flow or in-kind contributions as match funding?
A. No, match funding must be identified and in place before receiving a LEADER grant. In-kind contributions are not eligible.
Q. How long does it take to find out if my bid has been successful?
A. It can take anywhere between three and five months, depending how the dates of the LAG decision-making meetings fall. Before you complete the expression of interest form, you should check which of the meetings you project could be considered at for full application. Your project cannot start until you have received funding agreement, therefore your start date must be after the date of the decision meeting. The meeting dates are all listed on the apply page.
Q. I have a fantastic project that will tackle some social issues in rural Dorset. Could my project be eligible?
A. All projects must be able to demonstrate an economic benefit and/or create jobs, although these can be indirect. Please also bear in mind that most of the eligible costs under LEADER are capital costs, not revenue costs.
Q. When do I have to submit my expression of interest by? When does the ‘window’ close?
A. Unlike many grant schemes, LEADER accepts applications throughout the period that the scheme is running (2015-2019). There will also be some specific calls during this period for particular types of projects. These will be promoted on our website and newsletter.
Q. I struggle with filling out application forms. Can I get any guidance?
A. We appreciate that application forms can be intimidating for some and whilst we can’t sit with you to complete the form, we do want to help you as much as we can. We encourage applicants to call us, or attend a one-to-one surgery. Guidance on completing the form will be sent to you. If you are invited to submit a full application, you will have the support from one of our Project Officers to help you.
Q. How much is a typical LEADER grant?
A. It’s difficult to say this early in the programme but we anticipate that the average grant will be around £25,000.
Q. I want to bid for a grant of £100,000 towards my project but it won’t create any jobs directly. Am I likely to get the grant?
A. All applications are scored against the outputs they produce. LEADER is a competitive grant scheme so the economic outputs from your project would have to be exceptional to be in with a chance of securing a grant of this size.
Q. How can I find out about up-coming events and general news about LEADER?
A. The best way is to sign up for our monthly newsletter. You can sign up by entering your email address on our home page. We will also use the noticeboard for announcements as well as Twitter (@dorsetleader) and Facebook .
Q. I represent a charity/NGO that operates in Dorset and the surrounding counties. Are we able to apply if our project takes place within the LAG area?
A. Yes. The Project must take place in and benefit the LAG area.
Q. My organisation is a medium sized business/charity/NGO. Can I apply?
A. Medium sized businesses can apply for a LEADER grant to increase farm or forestry productivity. Only micro and small businesses, with up 49 employees, can apply for the other priorities.
Q. Do I need to join the LAG in order to apply for a grant?
A. No. You do not need to join the LAG if you want to submit an application.
Q. I’m interested in joining the LAG but I may want to submit an expression of interest for my own project in the future. Can I still apply for a grant if I am a LAG member?
A. Yes, being a LAG member does not affect your application.
Q. I have produced a detailed business plan. Should I submit this along with the expression of interest form?
A. I’m afraid we are not able to look at any supplementary documents you send us so please make sure you put all of the relevant information on the outline application form.
Q. I have a great idea for a new business but need help with salaries and overheads for the first six months. Can I apply for these?
A. No, only capital costs are eligible for LEADER funding.