Rural grants

South Oxfordshire has a thriving rural economy, which is home to a diverse range of businesses.

LEADER is a European Commission programme that supports community led local economic development in rural areas. LEADER has done this for several years by working with Local Action Groups to provide funds to rural businesses and community projects.

South Oxfordshire is covered by three LEADER programmes, to check which area you are in please see the LEADER map.

Organisations and individuals with ideas on how to boost our economy are again being encouraged to apply for grants from one of the three LEADER programmes South Oxfordshire is covered by. There is a £1.55 millon fund for Oxfordshire, £1.5 million for the Chilterns and €2.132 million for North Wessex Downs. Grants are available between 2015 and 2020.

The Oxfordshire LEADER Programme is offering grants to farmers, rural businesses, communities and those managing rural land who have a project that would contribute to one or more of the following themes:

  • reviving the waterways – specifically the River Thames and Oxford Canal
  • ‘get growing, get selling and get eating local’ – improving the processing and marketing of local food
  • unlocking the potential of woodland – actively managing woodland and developing local distribution network for woodfuel, timber and wood products
  • vibrant villages – creating more economic activity to stop villages becoming dormant with limited opportunities.

Grants are now available between 2015 to 2020 . Visit the Oxfordshire LEADER website for more information.

The North Wessex Downs LEADER Programme will focus on six priority areas for investment:

  • Farming productivity
  • Micro and small businesses (including farm diversification)
  • Tourism / the visitor economy
  • Forestry productivity
  • Rural services
  • Culture and heritage

Visit the North Wessex Downs LEADER website for more information.

The Chilterns LEADER priorities are to:

  • Enhance farm productivity
  • Support Micro and small businesses (including farm diversification)
  • Support rural tourism
  • Forestry productivity
  • Provision of rural services
  • Support historic landscapes or monuments

Visit the Chilterns LEADER website for more information.


Oxfordshire Business Support has more information on other types of EU funding, to find out more please visit their website.