Moray LEADER hailed a success!

    Posted on 16 March 2021

    An independent evaluation and review has hailed the Moray LEADER 2014-2020 Programme a success, due to the community-led approach and the unique delivery model.

    The 2014-2020 LEADER Programme covered all of Moray except the Cairngorms National Park, and was overseen by a Local Action Group (LAG), responsible for distributing the programme budget of just under £3.5 million. Uniquely in Scotland, the programme is managed by a third sector organisation, tsiMORAY. Fabio Villani, representative of Accountable Body, tsiMORAY, stated "we are delighted to see that the independent evaluation of the Moray LEADER Programme recognises both the positive impact of the Programme in Moray and the added value of the unique model we adopted. The reports endorse our view that Community Led Local Development works best when it is truly community led."

    Some key findings of the evaluation included:

    • There were a total of 145 Expressions of Interest received with 31 projects approved
    • Total project costs across the programme, including match funding, of £4,026,326.00
    • 58% of project delivery organisations from the third sector
    • tsiMORAY as Accountable Body worked well and in many areas exceeded expectations
    • A strong lasting legacy in capital and service delivery projects
    • A Local Development Strategy with clear alignment to European Union and Scottish Government priorities
    • A focus and determination on delivering cooperation projects
    • Numerous positive impacts in the development of economic, community, environmental, cultural and tourism related activity
    • The rationale for a flexible funding programme that can support Moray’s third sector, small businesses, and primary industries (farming and fishing) remains very strong.

    However, the evaluation also highlighted some of the challenges and gaps within the current programme and LDS. These included; the late start of the programme in May 2017, a challenging application process, difficulties in developing cooperation projects, a lack of specific support in the areas of wellbeing, culture and environment, and restrictions to project delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Ultimately, the collaborative approach between the Accountable Body, LAG, stakeholders and applicants meant that the Moray LEADER programme still provided huge benefits to the Moray economy and for residents and visitors alike. Alastair Kennedy, Chair of Moray LAG, opined "this review assures us that having a competent and committed LAG membership and team, firmly embedded in the community, has borne fruit and led to a varied programme of successful applications right across Moray. Some were large and some were not so large but each one underwent a rigorous testing procedure by our excellent team before further debate by the LAG members so we are delighted to find the process has worked so well for Moray."

    Follow the link to read the Moray Leader Programme 2014 2020 Evaluation Final Report.