As Board and staff members of Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) we are often very involved in the on-the-ground work of supporting community and small businesses to develop initiatives and projects.  Reading the overview in this supplement gives real pleasure when we see the scale of accomplishments.  Well done to all the communities and rural businesses involved.

The new LEADER Rural Development Programme – and the ‘Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme’ (SICAP) the successor to the ‘Local Community Development Programme’ (LCDP) will launch nationwide in 2015.  Despite any confusion that abounds to the new local development structures, KLP will be applying to deliver both initiatives and have already completed detailed consultations and planning for both application processes.  The prime concern will be to secure a budget that meets the needs and ambitions of the county which is critical as the national budgets for LEADER and SICAP are reduced.  KLP suggests that securing an adequate budget to deliver the programmes is a goal that all in Kilkenny with an interest in local development can unite around.

Despite the concern about budgets, there are many fascinating opportunities in the new LEADER and SICAP programmes.  KLP propose an integrated approach to planning.  Even a cursory read of the supplement will provide evidence on KLP’s ability to make such linkages work for the people of Kilkenny.  The new programmes offer possibilities for integration in several sectors – be it in youth employment, food production, broadband, celebrating local culture, tourism or the future of rural towns.

Now that you see what’s possible to date – we are looking forward to working with you on realising that potential in the future.