Getting Your Project Ready

Step 1 – Expressions of Interest

To find out if your project idea is something the South Aberdeenshire Local Action Group will support you must complete an expression of interest.

This will be assessed locally to determine if it fits with our Local Development Strategy and if we have funds available in our budget for your project type.


Step 2 – Project Planning

One of the keys to success with your funding bid is to have a well worked up, developed project proposal regardless of type, size or scale.  Before considering the LEADER application we recommend that you and your organisation spend time putting together your project/business plan.  Below are some steps to consider to get started.  If you are having trouble with this process please contact the South Aberdeenshire Local Action Group Office who can put you in touch with people who can help with this.

Project Plan

Any project application for grant support must be supported by a robust project or business plan.  Although we know that no two projects are the same, we have a basic LEADER Project Plan Template.  Although we  do not insist on it being submitted in this format you must ensure that the headings included in this template are met as a minimum.

Cashflow Planning

To support your LEADER application we require cashflow projections for several reasons:

  • To demonstrate that you can cashflow your LEADER project through the implementation stage.  LEADER pays its grant awards in arrears based on the achievement of milestones and evidence of payments of invoices, wages, etc., being evidenced through to your bank statement (defrayment). Please use our cashflow and milestones template to do this.
  • We also need you to demonstrate how your project will perform financially after we have awarded you grant for your project (other than for projects that relate to studies e.g. feasibility studies).  As a guide we recommend that this is for 3 years.  This should comprise of a cashflow projection(s) and partial budget(s).


Designing the milestones for the project is a critical step in any robust project planning exercise. Milestones are determined by the individual characteristics of the project. The minimum number of milestones is one.

The milestones will come from the project plan which should include all the tasks and the timeline to deliver the project. Then split the project down into clear and manageable stages which will become the milestones. The milestones must have measurable activities that can be reported against and evidence provided of their achievement.

To help with the planning of your milestones we recommend you complete the milestones section of the cashflow template.

Please refer to the LEADER General Applicant Guidance chapter 12 for further details regards milestones.

Engagement & Support

The South Aberdeenshire Local Action Group are keen for applicants (whether a business, community group or organisation) to demonstrate that your project proposal is truly desired or required locally, regionally or indeed beyond.   There is no prescribed way as to how to achieve this.  The local Rural Partnerships, Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action or Business Gateway maybe a good point of call to assist you in gathering this evidence.

Match Funding

It is very rare that the South Aberdeenshire Local Action Group would support a project to a level above 50% or £150,000 whichever is the lesser.  Therfore along with your application, we require you to supply confirmation as to how the balance will be financed.  We will only approve projects which can demonstrate this full package.

If you don’t know who can match fund your project there is a comprehensive database of funding organisations in Scotland on the SCVO Funding Scotland website:

Business/commercial related projects should discuss the project proposal with the bank or other commercial funding organisations.

Demonstrating Project Costs

For any cost you wish to include in your application you must demonstrate how these are reasonable for the investment and the project, further guidance on this can be found in section 12 of the LEADER General Applicant Guidance and the South Aberdeenshire Procurement guidance will assist you with this.

Supporting Documentation

Along with your project plan we require various additional pieces of supporting evidence.

Please see our checklist below to help you prepare the documents we will require along with your application:

supporting-docs(click to expand)

Step 3 – Making Your Formal Application

Once you feel you have a robust project plan you will be in a position to make a formal application for funding through our online system LARCs. Contact the South Aberdeenshire Local Action Group Office who will grant you access to the system.


If you require any support in building up your project please contact the South Aberdeenshire Local Action Group Office for support in the first instance.