LEADER Priority Actions and Targets

Section 5 of the Shetland Local Development Strategy contains the priority actions and targets which all projects for the Shetland LEADER 2014-2020 Programme are evaluated against. In addition there are priority target groups of young people, Social Enterprises and micro businesses.

5.5 Support communities to develop projects which address carbon reduction and energy saving

Carbon reduction is a key theme at all levels of local policy, and projects which reduce reliance on fossil fuels have the potential to contribute to this theme and to deliver benefits across local areas, including economic and health benefits. This theme complements a range of local policies and actions taken forward by agencies and community groups, including car-sharing initiatives and local food production to reduce travelling distances, and aerogenerators linked to community buildings. Intervention from LEADER can assist groups and agencies in the development of initiatives, physical infrastructure and research into reducing carbon emissions locally. There is also clear potential for co-operation projects which encourage knowledge-sharing and development of new techniques.


  • Provide support to community groups and voluntary organisations to investigate and implement energy saving solutions for community buildings
  • Provide funding for incentive schemes which encourage community groups to pursue renewable energy and energy saving measures
  • Support research & development and knowledge transfer with regards to implementation of renewable energy technology
  • Support programmes and projects which reduce the need for long car journeys and provide innovative, low-carbon solutions for community transport
  • Support community initiatives which investigate and/or implement innovative recycling and waste management solutions in local communities

5.6 Develop and enhance services and facilities which support a high quality of life in rural communities

Previous LEADER programmes operated in Shetland have been very successful in supporting community ambitions to develop facilities in local areas, and have been able to provide assistance where there are gaps in what public agencies can support, which is more prevalent in times of budgetary cutbacks in local government. Cutbacks of this kind often disproportionately affect more remote and rural communities, as economies of scale mean that services in these areas are more expensive to deliver and are often the first to be cut when budgets are under pressure. Maintaining the quality of life in rural communities is important in stemming the deleterious effects of such cuts and ensuring that communities remain vital and attractive places to live. To this end, LEADER can fill gaps by providing support and assistance to groups aiming to enhance services and facilities in ways which provide lasting benefits.


  • Support community efforts to connect remote and sparsely populated areas to high speed broadband, and to improve telecommunications connectivity overall
  • Promote opportunities for skills development and learning experiences in rural communities
  • Support research and feasibility studies examining the potential for community asset transfers and medium- to large-scale commercial developments by community groups
  • Encourage programmes and projects which lead to decentralisation of public services and improve employment opportunities in remote areas
  • Support community efforts to enhance local facilities and services by finding use for disused or underutilised local assets
  • Support projects which seek to improve local opportunities for young people, in particular skills and learning opportunities, leisure and recreation and employment/business opportunities
  • Support social enterprises to develop revenue generating projects which enhance the quality of life in rural areas and add to local service provision
  • Support projects which aim to improve the ability of disadvantaged and/or vulnerable people to play a more active role with their community
  • Encourage programmes which aim to give communities a more active role in local and regional economic and community development
  • Support projects and initiatives which aim to reduce barriers to employment and community participation (i.e., childcare, transport, intergenerational skills etc.)

5.7 Enhance the natural and cultural heritage of Shetland, and improve tourism and leisure opportunities in local areas

Shetland’s natural beauty and cultural resources offer great potential for social and economic development, and also require efforts to preserve and enhance those elements which are at risk of loss or deterioration, but which remain of great value. In many cases the cultural and social value of such assets will outweigh any economic benefits which can be accrued, which often puts projects in this area at a disadvantage where resources are required. LEADER can fill gaps in this area where projects fit with local priorities but resources are scarce, or where partners are focused on other areas of development.


  • Develop programmes which improve interpretation of and access to important areas of natural beauty and scientific and/or historic interest
  • Develop initiatives which implement new methods of preserving Shetland’s pristine natural environment
  • Support developments which provide information bases for local tourism and improve the ability of local communities to develop visitor services
  • Contribute to the development of projects which utilise, develop and preserve the uniqueness of Shetland’s cultural heritage, including dialect, history, music, and textiles
  • Improve information on local amenities and services available to visitors to encourage tourism in all areas of Shetland
  • Support projects and initiatives which aim to encourage wider participation in sporting activity, which encourage healthier and more active living, and which increase the number of leisure and recreation opportunities available in Shetland

5.8 Encourage community initiatives which develop food and drink projects in rural areas

Supporting local food and drink production can have a number of tangible benefits for communities and Shetland as a whole. Developments in this area have the potential to reduce travelling distances and time, thus reducing carbon emissions. Such developments can also provide economic benefits for community groups and individuals who can sell produce, businesses who can cut down on charges and attract new custom, and individuals who can procure fresh local produce in local shops. While these are areas of interest to local and regional policy, resource direction often means that groups requiring assistance with developing projects fall through gaps in provision. LEADER can offer valuable support for such groups.


  • Support research into wider usage and distribution of locally produced food to local suppliers and eateries
  • Support initiatives which lead to efficient community-led food production and reduction of carbon footprint
  • Support networking of local producers to look at new methods of production, distribution, selling and marketing

5.9 Provide rural communities with the means and opportunity to address issues of poverty, disadvantage and inequality

A major policy direction in the current programme is to address issues of poverty and social exclusion, which is a key aspect of local development policy. This a particular issue for rural areas where poverty and exclusion may be a result of physical distance and local geography as much as prevailing economic conditions. While budgets are under pressure it is essential that work in this area is supported by as much resource as possible, including LEADER, to ensure that projects which deliver real benefits are properly supported by community planning partners.


  • Support projects which generate employment opportunities in remote and rural areas, particularly where these benefit disadvantaged and/or vulnerable members of the community
  • Assist communities with preparatory, survey and analysis work to support the creation of local development plans which focus on economic development and regeneration
  • Support initiatives which provide innovative and sustainable solutions to issues of poverty and inequality affecting households, i.e. fuel poverty, welfare reform, family learning, household budgeting, etc.
  • Encourage projects which aim to increase employability skills among women, young people and individuals who are vulnerable or disadvantaged
  • Develop initiatives which seek to encourage community participation among those who may otherwise be excluded
  • Provide funding for research and/or feasibilities into new solutions to increase community sustainability, i.e. new housing or transport solutions
  • Provide support for the creation of online portals and/or social networking hubs to promote communities as places to live, work, study and invest
  • Support projects which seek to improve the ability of young people to become involved in local decision-making

5.10 Encourage co-operation and experience-sharing with rural areas located elsewhere in Scotland, the UK and Europe

LEADER can provide a method by which partners in local areas can develop and deliver projects which share knowledge, research, techniques and insights across a range of rural development projects. These can be joint research projects, experience-sharing, new initiatives or linking organisations developing new methods of best practice. It has been agreed that 10% of the LEADER budget will be provided to projects which are developed through co-operation with other LAG areas.


  • Develop programmes which investigate innovative use of land and assets in light of Common Agricultural Policy review
  • Investigate opportunities to establish networks of co-operation between remote and rural areas to improve natural and built heritage conservation, tourism development, marine resource management and area promotion
  • Support efforts to improve knowledge and understanding in key local sectors (i.e. agriculture, creative industries, new technology) through sharing or experience and methodology in other LAG areas
  • Investigate opportunities to improve local service provision through co-operation