• 3rd Catalys LEADER & Local Development Summer School – Zadar Croatia
    3rd Catalys LEADER & Local Development Summer School – Zadar Croatia
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    The Catalys LEADER and Local Development Summer School will now take place at a date later in the year.  The course has proved popular with partners and we now have two new partners:

    European Education Forum – will support the programme through the Europe for Citizens Programme, which encourages citizens’ participation in the European Union, by developing understanding of the Union and promoting intercultural engagement at the Union level.

    EDIC (Zadar) – is the European Information Centre in Zadar which provides information about the European Union, its policies and opportunities and promotes civic engagement.

    We are delighted to inform colleagues that the partnership supporting the summer school has grown to include two new partners.  However, the process of bringing new partners into the course and reflecting their ideas will take a little time.  This means that we cannot run the summer school at the planned time in September and will now look for a mutually acceptable time later in the year.  We will be in touch with all those who have made bookings and participants will be offered places at the later course.

    The summer school is also supported by the LEADER Network of Croatia (LMH), Ministry of Agriculture and the Rural Business School (UK).



    This year the summer school will embrace the Community Led Local Development (CLLD) theme alongside LEADER with the principles having moved from theory to practice for the first time.  We will look at early practice and we will have case studies, films and plenty of discussion, as well as good dalmatian cuisine.

    The 2015 Summer School theme is ENERGY; both how to harness the energy of communities and how communities can provide for their own energy needs.  Rural Communities have many of the solutions to the challenges they face, the only thing they lack is an impetus to develop and a structure to do it within.  The EU’s LEADER and CLLD programmes offer both of these things, however the job of stimulating a community’s energies is subtle and skilled – it is called ANIMATION.  For this reason LEADER and CLLD employ ANIMATEURS, not to be the source of all wisdom, but to stimulate and animate sustainable development.

    The summer school will look at these skills and look at best practice examples of them being applied.

    What can you expect – The Summer School is open and informative, the programme includes discussions, video clips, case studies, practical examples and plenty of opportunity for informal engagement with colleagues and experts.  In addition to the formal programme, participants will also be provided with links, information sources and learning materials.  The summer school will be delivered in English and Croatian and will be facilitated by Ivana Laginja and Ian Baker.

    The sign up form is here.

    The Programme is here

    Who is it for:   Public, private and NGO sectors involved in rural and local development and in particular those engaged with the LEADER programme from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and neighbouring countries.

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  • Igor’s travels – Poland’s lessons for Rural Development
    Igor’s travels – Poland’s lessons for Rural Development
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    Nelson Mandela famously said the journey of a million miles starts with a single step.  It is with this spirit that Catalys launched its bursary scheme in 2015.

    Igor Ilić, from Čoka in North East Serbia, the first to be awarded the bursary, will be setting out at midnight to visit Świętokrzyskie Voivodship to be a guest on their international conference about modern agriculture, economics and investment that will take place in Sandomierz, East Poland.

    Igor will tour the territory of a number of LEADER Local Action Groups: LAG “Sandomierskie Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju Regionalnego”; LAG “Region Włoszczowski”; LAG “Brody nad Kamienną ” and LAG “Krzemienny Krąg” before taking part in the conference.

    The purpose of the visit is for a young person from the Western Balkan accession countries to learn about local development from those with more experience and to then to pass on the lessons he has learnt on his return.  The contacts, the information gained and the ideas stimulated will hopefully continue to benefit Igor and the communities that he works with for years to come.

    Igor will present a report on his experiences at an international summer school in Zadar, Croatia in July, when we hope he will inspire others regarding the benefits of learning from the experience of others.

    Catalys bursary scheme is set to be an annual award and this year’s applicants came from Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro.  Igor wrote convincingly and passionately about his desire to learn and his programme was compelling.

    So, look out for Igor’s report (which Catalys will publish) and for the 2016 award.


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  • Dumfries and Galloway Local Development Strategy
    Dumfries and Galloway Local Development Strategy
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    The following tasks were required for delivery of this commission:

    1. Collaboration with the LEADER LAG to develop and produce a draft Local Development Strategy and Business Plan 2014-2020 for Dumfries and Galloway based on the findings from the evaluation of LEADER 2008-2013 and the community/stakeholder engagement undertaken as part of this tender:

    • Draft Local Development Strategy for submission to Scottish Government – March 2014
    • Final Local Development Strategy and Business Plan for submission to Scottish Government – June 2014

    2. Provision of a programme of facilitated community and stakeholder engagement activities to inform the preparation of the Local Development Strategy and Business Plan 2014-2020. The programme involved a number of engagement methods including:

    • workshops
    • focus groups
    • open events
    • targeted events

    3.Engagement with a range of existing and prospective partners per discussion with the LAG:

    • Individuals
    • Communities – geographic and interest
    • Businesses
    • Strategic Partnership (CPP)
    • Public agencies
    • Third sector

    4.  An assessment of the findings from the engagement activities:

    •  Identify themes/priorities
    • Identify the potential for joint working
    • Consider the scope for partners to deliver actions in the Local Development Strategy
    • Ensure alignment with the Single Outcome Agreement

    • Funded by:

      LEADER Logo

      Contracted by:

      Dumfries and Galloway Council Link  Rocket Science Link

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  • Shropshire LEADER Local Development Strategy
    Shropshire LEADER Local Development Strategy
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    The aim of this project was to work collaboratively with transition LEADER groups in Shropshire to develop a Local Development Strategy that ensures 100% rural coverage of Shropshire. There are areas of Shropshire that have never been covered by LEADER before and so a detailed consultation in these areas is necessary to ensure a representative and relevant LDS that effectively delivers an economically focused LEADER programme.

    The project delivered and LDS through an extensive process of options development and determination, based on the priorities identified in the evidence base analysis and tested through the consultation process.

    A key output of the project was to form a Shadow Local Area Group of key individuals who are representative of the area and are committed to the development of a forward looking LEADER programme.

    Commissioned by:

    DEFRA Link

    Funded by:

    LEADER Logo

    Partner Organisations:

    Rose Regeneration Link

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  • Ceredigion LEADER – Evaluation of the Cynnal y Cardi, Rural Development Plan Axis 4 delivery in Ceredigion
    Ceredigion LEADER – Evaluation of the Cynnal y Cardi, Rural Development Plan Axis 4 delivery in Ceredigion
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    To provide an evaluation of the current Cynnal y Cardi Axis 4 projects in Ceredigion 2011-13;

    • Enhancing the Quality of Life in Ceredigion
    • Innovative Solutions to Childcare

    Cynnal y Cardi, the Local Action Group is a broad based local partnership covering all of rural Ceredigion with responsibility for development and delivery of the above two projects.  Cynnal y Cardi effectively works to the Adfywio Ceredigion Regeneration Partnership (ACR), which has acted as the umbrella body for Axis 3&4.

    Ceredigion identified two priority projects. Firstly, a broad based quality of life measure and secondly a project focused on childcare as a key tool in addressing worklessness.  Effectively targeted support for childcare can make a significant contribution to enabling adults, particularly women, to access the employment market.

    The project will provide an evaluation Report including key learning points, Forward Look, Case Studies, SROI assessment and Recommendations to inform LEADER  Local Development Strategy 2015-2020.


    Funded by:

    LEADER Logo

    Contracted by:

    Ceredigion County Council Link

    Partner Organisations:

    Rose Regeneration Link  Rocket Science Link

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  • Day of the Region
    Day of the Region
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    Day of the Region is an innovative project inspired by a similar project ‘Dag van de Regio’ carried out by Groningen LAG in the Netherlands. This transnational approach to project delivery and drawing on examples of good practice in Europe is a defining feature of this project.

    The project aims to showcase, celebrate and raise awareness of existing community activities through volunteer run community events. The project was managed by a Project Officer and steered by LAG members, other partner organisations and members of the community. A total of 22 communities were engaged in the project (including the pilot) over a period of 3 years.

    This project forms a significant part of the Dumfries & Galloway LEADER programme and, significantly, it has been steered and managed by the LAG. Whilst the LEADER programme has been subject to its own evaluation process, it is important to evaluate this project within the context of the wider programme and its aims.

    The purpose of this evaluation was:

    •  To carry out an assessment of the delivery of the Day of the Region Project
    • To undertake engagement with a range of participants in order to establish their experience of Day of the region
    • To provide an assessment of the wider EU, national and policy context within which the Day of the Region would fit with the Dumfries and Galloway LEADER 2014-2020 programme based on the findings of this commission
    • To identify structures for the delivery of the Day of the Region in the new LEADER 2014-2020 programme in Dumfries and Galloway


    Commissioned by:

    Dumfries and Galloway Council Link

    Funded by:

    LEADER Logo

    Partner Organisation:

    Rose Regeneration Link

    Download Publication:

    pdf Day of the Region Summary Evaluation Report 2014 (final)

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  • Balkan CSOs – Mid-term Review of Partnership Programmes for Civil Society Organisations
    Balkan CSOs – Mid-term Review of Partnership Programmes for Civil Society Organisations
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    Since the Enlargement Strategy 2007-2008, civil society development has been a reform priority in the EU agenda of enlargement. The objective has been to strengthen the role of civil society in the democratisation and reconciliation process while also supporting better communication of enlargement processes and mutual understanding between EU Member States and the candidate countries’ societies.

    In order to respond to the need of fully engaging civil society in the EU integration process, an overall strategy for supporting civil society has been developed in the framework of IPA under the Civil Society Facility (CSF). The CSF focuses on supporting Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), i.e. all not-for-profit, non-market and non-state organisations and structures in which people organise to pursue shared objectives and ideals.[1]

    The global objective for the CSF is:

    ‘To contribute to anchoring democratic values and structures, human rights, social inclusion and the rule of law, thereby supporting the EU integration process.’

    The specific objective is to achieve:

    ‘A more dynamic civil society actively participating in public debate on democracy, human rights, social inclusion and the rule of law and with capacity to influence policy and decision making processes.’

    In November 2012 the European Commission contracted 18 Partnership Programmes for CSOs under the CSF global and specific objectives. The aim is to contribute to achieving these objectives though the establishment of regional CSO partnerships that pursue shared objectives regarding good governance and the fulfillment of the political criteria for EU accession. Beyond the global and specific objectives, the call for proposals prioritised applications that addressed all of the following issues:

    1)  Strengthened capacity and efforts to provide analysis, advocacy and monitoring of key sector reforms at regional and national levels

    2)  Improvement of the environment for civil activism and state-civil society dialogue at regional and national levels

    3)   Improvement of the legitimacy, transparency and accountability of CSOs in the region

    Each of the 18 Partnerships Programmes targets a specific sector of relevance to the enlargement agenda. Individual Partnership Programmes have their own global and specific objectives reflecting this sectoral work while also showing a clear linkage to the global and specific objectives for the call for proposals as a whole. They fall into three broad categories as follows:

    • Governance
    • Social development, human rights and reconciliation
    • Environment, natural resources, energy

    The mid-term review (MTR) will assess the progress of the Partnership Programmes against the stated specific objectives as well as identify issues and recommend course corrections. In doing so, the MTR will assess each Partnership Programme both individually as well as collectively through an assessment of the portfolio of Partnership Programmes as a whole.

    The MTR will assess each Partnership Programme as well as the portfolio as a whole according to standard evaluation criteria:

    •  Relevance
    • Effectiveness
    • Efficiency
    • Sustainability
    • Network/linkages
    • Lessons Learnt
    • Recommendations

    Commissioned by:


    Funded by:

    DG EU Enlargement Link

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  • Cheshire LEADER Local Development Strategy
    Cheshire LEADER Local Development Strategy
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    Consultation – contribute to the development of the stakeholder list of individuals and organisations, devise and hold a programme of stakeholder events (taking account of the increased emphasis for the new LEADER programme on jobs and growth), gather project opportunities and ideas, provide an overview of the LEADER approach and the issues linked to its mobilization.

    Evidence – collate the evidence arising from the evaluation, capture the main priorities for investment, gather the key messages arising, shape the evidence at sub-authority priority level.

    LDS Compilation – write up the results for inclusion in the LDS, make raw data available, contribute to the completion of the LDS.

    Commissioned by:

    DEFRA Link

    Funded by:

    LEADER Logo

    Partner Organisations:

    Rose Regeneration Link  Rocket Science Link

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  • Equality Training
    Equality Training
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    Design and delivery of and Equality Training programme aimed at Outdoor Tourism Providers.

    The programme is comprised of the following components:

    • Why equality? Is thinking about equality and inclusion a burden or an opportunity?
    • Introductory session to tee up the issues and introduce the approach to be followed;
    • Elements that challenge the perception that practice is universally good
    • What the sector is good at; opportunities we are missing, pitfalls we discovered, what people think of the sector from “outside”;
    • Business benefits of focusing on inclusion – e.g., markets that are being missed;
    • Market differentiation from an equality perspective – increasing your reach and relevance;
    • Good practice case studies – from within the project area and beyond;
    • Mutual challenge on current practice – interactive sessions on issues of current concern. If there is sufficient interest we can assist introduction of Action Learning methodologies around this issue and establishing Action Learning Sets.



    Funded by:


    Contracted by:

    Conwy County Council Logo

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  • Cardigan Bay FLAG Evaluation
    Cardigan Bay FLAG Evaluation
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    An evaluation of the Cardigan Bay Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG).  The FLAG has been supported through the “Animation, Communication and Evaluation Project”, which has an investment value of £108,359 and is funded through the Welsh EFF programme 2007-13.

    This evaluation will:

    • Provide an objective and evidenced assessment of the FLAG’s outputs, impact and the process of delivery;
    • Use the learning from the evaluation to improve delivery;
    • Build the capacity of staff, FLAG members in relation to review and evaluation; and
    • Review the effectiveness of the Lead Body.

    Given the client’s requirements and the wider context we are proposing a methodology that uses a mix of approaches, so that we can provide a rounded view of the FLAG’s achievements and “tell the story”:

    • Provide a robust picture of outputs and impacts;
    • Provide the opportunity for Stakeholders to share their views
    • Use approaches, such as Social Return on Investment and Partnership self-evaluation to gain the fullest possible picture of the outcomes of the FLAG Project
    • Run workshops with a cross section of stakeholders to ensure that internal and external views of the FLAG are understood and given due weight.

    Commissioned by:

    Ceredigion County Council Link

    Funded by:

    EC EMFF Link

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