Funding boost for Midlothian’s rural areas

Groups in communities such as Pathhead can apply for Tyne Esk LEADER funding
Groups in communities such as Pathhead can apply for Tyne Esk LEADER funding

Midlothian Council has been awarded a £3.4 million grant allocation to run a LEADER programme throughout Midlothian and East Lothian.

The LEADER programme is a rural grant fund, sourced from the European Union, which is available throughout the rural areas of Scotland.

The Tyne Esk LEADER programme covers the rural areas of Midlothian and East Lothian (but excluding Dalkeith and Musselburgh).

The Scottish Government has approved the Local Development Strategy which was led by Midlothian Council with support from the Local Action Group, an organisation made up of representatives from public, private and third sector.

The strategy evolved following extensive consultation with communities, individuals, businesses and organisations operating within the Tyne Esk area.

The aim was to identify key issues affecting these rural communities. Some of the common themes included: local environment improvements such as signage, improved streetscapes and improved green spaces; the lack of activities for families, children, young people and older people; the need for more local employment opportunities; traffic calming and transport issues; and proposals for community hubs/shops/gardens.

Applications will be welcomed from local third sector organisations or community groups, local agencies, public sector and from private business.

Andrew McDonald, the chairman Tyne Esk LEADER Local Action Group, said: “This programme will welcome applications for as many projects as possible that will fit our priorities and should bring much-needed jobs and added prosperity to our rural areas.”

Midlothian Council will have a programme of launch events to promote the new programme. Grants will be awarded until the end of 2019. Interested parties are encouraged to start thinking now about projects that will benefit the area.

Applications will be welcomed from projects which take place throughout the rural areas of both counties. Areas not fully covered by the previous LEADER Programmes - Penicuik, Lasswade, Bonnyrigg and Polton - are now eligible to apply.