Over the years, the LEADER approach has proved itself as an effective tool for handing power to ’people on the ground‘ to examine the challenges and opportunities which they face, come up with their ideas in response and turn these into reality. Valuable lessons yielded from the current 2007-2013 period will be applied to bring out the proper flavour of LEADER more fully after 2013 while also further raising participation.
In order to fulfil its mission, the LEADER approach must be as accessible as possible to anyone with the required level of commitment and innovative spirit. But to use LEADER effectively, expertise is needed and some potential groups may have less of this than others. Therefore, after 2013 there will be a stronger and more explicit emphasis on building the necessary capacity to maximise LEADER’s positive impact. Both national and regional support will be available to cover a preparatory phase, during which time Local Action Groups (LAGs) can build up their base of knowledge and skills for the subsequent implementation of a LDS.
As a special provision for potential LAGs which were not involved in LEADER during the 2007-2013 period, a new ’LEADER Start-Up Toolkit‘ will be introduced, to be adapted to the particular needs of a given territory. Potential LAGs that make use of the kit will receive support for building capacity and will also be able to experiment with small pilot projects.