How to Apply:

  1. Check that you are in either the Kent Downs and Marshes or East Kent LEADER areas (visit the Eligibility Page for more information).
  2. Read the Kent Downs and Marshes or East Kent Handbook (whichever is relevant to your area).
  3. Check that your project fits with the Kent Downs and Marshes or East Kent LEADER key objectives identified in the Kent Downs and Marshes and East Kent Local Development Strategies (whichever are relevant to your area).
  4. Request and complete an Expression of Interest form from the LEADER Programme Staff. This will be sent to you with a guidance note on how to complete it.
  5. Submit the completed Expression of Interest to the LEADER Programme staff by email.

Top Tips for Applying for LEADER funding:


  • Before you start the Application Process you need to be clear in your own mind what you want to do and why you want to do it. You should carefully think about the need and demand for your project and the impact it will have on your business/organisation, the wider benefits to your area and the effect it will have on your competitors. Be clear in your own mind what you are trying to achieve.
  • Other sources of suitable funding for your project should be explored before you consider LEADER. LEADER should be the last funding source you approach and the amount requested should be the minimum to enable the project to proceed. You may need to demonstrate that you have approached other sources of funding before a LEADER application can be considered.
  • Before you decide to formally apply for LEADER, speak to the Programme Staff about your project and take their advice – they are there to help.


  • Allow time. Plan ahead. Do not rush your application or chase deadlines. Work out a reasonable timeframe within which to complete your project. The LEADER application process can take on average up to five months to complete. So factor in other deadlines that will be crucial to delivering your project e.g. planning permission, obtaining quotes etc.
  • Read all the guidance carefully. A significant amount of applications are rejected because they either don’t meet the criteria for LEADER; the required information is missing; consents required to complete the project are not in place; some sections of the form are simply not completed.
  • Assume the reader knows nothing about your project. Clearly explain what is it you want to achieve and why you need LEADER to achieve this e.g. how have you calculated your costs and the amount you want from LEADER? Complete all sections of the required application forms as succinctly as you can. All sections of the Application forms will be considered when making a decision.
  • A business plan and risk assessment may be required for some applications. It is always useful to undertake a risk assessment as it shows you have thought the project through; you are realistic about what could go wrong and what you would do to deal with any problems.
  • Do your homework for full applications and make sure you have full income and expenditure and cash flow included.
  • Remember that LEADER grants are paid in arrears, so make sure you can bank roll the project until a grant is paid and you can cover short term cash –flow.
  • You will need to get three quotes for any items of expenditure. All quotes need to show the supplier’s VAT number and Companies House registration number if appropriate.
  • Do not commit to purchasing any equipment or carrying out any work on your project until a LEADER Grant agreement has been completed and signed.
  • Remember that the minimum LEADER grant is £2,500 and ask yourself if it is really cost effective for you to apply to LEADER for your project. Other funding sources may be more suitable. LEADER will have an interest in your project for 5 years after a grant award. The Grant Agreement is legally binding and will outline your obligations.
  • Develop your project and do not chase the grant. A well thought out and realistically costed project is more likely to succeed.
  • Do not assume. LEADER Programme staff are there to help you and if you have any queries just ask!