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LEADER is a French acronym meaning “Links between the rural economy and development actions”.

The aim of LEADER is to increase support to deliver activities which support the countryside and rural communities, encouraging a sustainable management of agriculture and environment. LEADER seeks to support innovative responses to opportunities or challenges faced in rural areas and has a number of key features:

  • It has a ‘bottom up’ approach to rural development i.e. that local people participate in the priorities to be pursued in their local area.
  • It accommodates communities with the opportunity of testing out new and innovative ideas and working in different ways.
  • It allows joint projects to be undertaken with another LEADER group, or with a group taking a similar approach in another region or Member State. Such cooperation can help LEADER groups to boost their local activities and can provide opportunities for mutual learning.
  • It provides the opportunity for LEADER groups, administrations and organisations involved in rural development to network, exchange achievements, experiences and know-how. It represents a means of transferring good practice, of disseminating innovation and of building on the lessons learned from local rural development.

Find out more about LEADER in this short film from the European Network for Rural Development

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