About us

We support the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which works to make England’s agriculture and forestry sectors more competitive, to improve the quality of life in rural areas and to diversify rural economies.

We support the Rural Development Programme for England by giving participants the tools and opportunities to share their ideas, practice and experience and by helping them exchange information more easily and effectively.

We support the European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture Productivity and Sustainability (EIP – Agri) with the setting up, development and sharing of activities of EIP Agri Operational groups in England.

Who we are

The network includes people involved with the RDPE and the projects it funds. Its day-to-day operations are managed by a Network Support Unit, which has 4 members of staff and is based in Bristol.

We are part of the UK National Rural Network (UK NRN), which also includes the Rural Network for Northern Ireland, the Scotland National Rural Network and the Wales Rural Network. UK NRN is part of the European Network for Rural Development, which links the rural development programmes of EU member states.

Our responsibilities

We’re responsible for:

  • getting participants in rural development programmes more directly involved with carrying them out
  • improving the way rural development programmes are carried out
  • informing the public and potential beneficiaries about rural development policy and funding opportunities
  • supporting innovative practices and ideas in agriculture, food production, forestry and the rural environment

Our priorities

Our priorities are to:

  • make communications across the programme better co-ordinated and more integrated
  • provide support to RDPE LEADERs Local Action Groups (LAGs)
  • share examples of projects for others to learn from
  • provide the opportunities for participants to join up with others to share learning and experiences
  • work with Local Enterprise Partnerships to provide them with the support to help deliver the RDPE programme
  • support successful EIP Agri applicants to share their learning amongst interested parties in England, UK and Europe

LEADER’ is an acronym for a French phrase that means ‘links between the rural economy and development actions’. It’s an approach to decision-making that LAGs use to form effective local partnerships for a range of initiatives.