Over £2m worth of European funding is now available for projects to strengthen the economy of rural areas across the North Pennine Dales…

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The North Pennine Dales (NPD) LEADER programme is seeking applications for the grant to fund projects which increase farm and forestry production, boost rural tourism, or support small and micro businesses and farm diversification. Bids are also welcome for projects which provide cultural and heritage activities or offer rural services.

Running until 2020, Durham County Council acts as the accountable body for the NPD LEADER programme, which covers an extensive rural area across Gateshead, County Durham and south of Northumberland.

The aim of the €2.666m programme is to create jobs and support strong and sustainable economic growth, as well as helping to conserve the unique nature of the local landscapes. By funding projects put forward by people, groups and businesses in the area, it also hopes to target areas that the communities themselves see as a priority.

Cllr Eddie Tomlinson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for rural issues, said: “The LEADER programme promises more jobs and stronger economies for rural areas across the region. By offering funding towards priorities that local communities themselves feel are important, these projects can make a real difference for generations to come, so we’d encourage everyone in the area to get in touch with ideas.”

Find out more by contacting northpenninedales@durham.gov.uk or calling 03000 266 895. You can also visit www.durham.gov.uk/npdleader.

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