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C/o VisitShetland, Market Cross, Lerwick, Shetland
The LEADER fund which is part of an EU initiative and forms part of the Scottish Government's Scottish Rural Development Programme is now open for applications for their 2014 - 2020 round of funding.
LEADER's objective is to provide opportunities for individuals, businesses & communities to come together to support rural development and provide long term benefits for local areas. There is particular emphisis on projects which are both innovative and and show a bottom up strategic structure.
A bottom up strategy refers to the use of collective experience and expertise which provides room for creative thinking to produce innovative approches to business and development. Using a bottom up strategy has the benefit of creating a sense of group ownership which is particularly beneficial for community enterprises.
Tourism related projects which have recieved LEADER funding before are:
South Nesting Community Hall - for the development of campervan & caravan facilities.
Bridge End Outdoor Centre - for developing greater accessability to water based activites and the development of a camping & caravaning site.
Fetlar Community Development - for the provision of a community electric bus creating opertunity for greater transport and dial-a-ride services within the island.
Belmont House - for furnishing and equipment to make Belmont House a high quality self-catering accommodation with options for venue hire and as a visitor attraction as well as development of a promotional website.
As the year that "Scotland Welcomes the World" begins to come to a close now that all of the major events have finished, the Scottish Government in partnership with EventScotland & VisitScotland will return to the "Year of..." marketing & development campaigns.
2015 will be the Year of Food & Drink and will see Scotland Food & Drink joining the partnership to place a spotlight on the nations industry. VisitScotland and EventScotland will of course be focusing on the tourism opportunities and they will be celebrating food & drink as part of Scottish cultural identity and heritage in promoting Scotland as a holiday destination. This is not without good reason, research has shown that visitors to Scotland want to try local food and two-thirds of visitors have identified quality food as an important factor in deciding where they want to holiday.
VisitScotland have recently released their Year of Food & Drink toolkit, which you can find here or by clicking on the banner below, this provides a range of information about what the Year of Food & Drink is about, research, has logos and digital banners available for use as well as ideas for monthly food themes and information about local suppliers.
As well as promoting Scotland through Food & Drink there is also a special growth fund specifically aimed at development in this area available.
Demand is likely to be high on the applications to this fund so act fast on this, you can find out more about this special Growth Fund here.