Galway Rural Development (GRD) are looking to recruit community groups / individuals in East Galway to participate in our WATER AND BIODIVERSITY TRAINING. This project is funding under the Rural Environment Theme of LEADER 2014-2020 (Transition Programme 2021), which is administered by Galway Rural Development.

The role of individuals and local communities as guardians of the natural resources is an essential one. Galway Rural Development is keen to encourage water biodiversity best practice in East Galway. Therefore, the focus is on utilising the waterways for catchments initiatives and the betterment of the rural environment in east Galway, while fostering citizen science, as well as engaging young people and communities through educational activities, environmental improvement works and the sustainable use for recreation. 


Galway Rural Development CLG has been working closely with the Local Authority Waters Programme to develop a suite of training modules to enable community groups/ individuals to learn more about environmental stewardship and develop and bring forward projects relevant to their local waterbody. A waterbody can be a stream, river, spring, pond, lake, turlough, bay, estuary etc. Participants will receive training on various modules such as: 

-        Understanding Your Local Waterbody (how catchments work, the water cycle, the riparian zone – connecting land and water)

-        Water Quality & Impacts (sources of freshwater supply)

-        Citizen Science

-        Water Biodiversity Plan

This training will cumulate in the creation of a local Water Biodiversity plan. The aim of this initiative is to equip groups/ individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to plan for water biodiversity in their work and thus ensure it has minimum negative impact and maximum benefit for the local environment.

Training Application Forms can be downloaded here:

Water and Biodiversity Training Application Form

Closing Date – 14th March 2021

LEADER 2014 – 2020

 Open Call announced in October 2019

LEADER, the national rural development programme, will deliver some €250 million into rural towns and villages right across the country until 2020. With the selection of Galway Rural Development as the Local Action Group for LEADER, €7.6 million in vital funding for rural communities has been allocated within East Galway.

Galway Rural Development is aware that rural communities are eager to access this funding, for the benefit of local groups and organisations and is looking forward to working with those communities. With the opening of LEADER, expressions of interest for LEADER funding can be accepted. Completing an expression of interest form, allows staff to engage with potential applicants, determine the project details and advise upon the next steps. This new form also acts as a record for all LEADER queries.

Galway Rural Development has been delivering LEADER in Co. Galway since 1994. “We hope to build on the success of the previous LEADER programme, where over 300 local projects received funding from a programme of over €12 million”, added Delia Colahan, CEO of Galway Rural Development. “LEADER is now a smaller programme nationally, and there are changes to the programme such as targeted calls for specific projects, but we are committed to making this LEADER programme as successful as its predecessor and will work closely with our Supporting Partner Comhair na Oileain to ensure the greatest impact for our communities”. 

The Expression of Interest form is available from Galway Rural Development’s main office in Athenry at 091 844335, on its website at or email .

The new LEADER programme 2014 – 2020 is quite different from previous LEADER programmes.  The main changes are;  

A More Targeted Approach

The new LEADER Programme will be much more targeted than in previous programmes due to the approximate 55% cut in funding from RDP 2007-2013.   In this regard projects will be assessed closely against the strategic actions of the Local Development Strategy (LDS) as well as national LEADER guidelines.    Additional criteria may also be put in place at local level when assessing projects to ensure funding is allocated where it is needed most e.g. areas / project promoters that have not accessed LEADER funding previously may be prioritised.

Time Specific  / Targeted Calls – a more competitive process

A more competitive process will be used to assess project applications for certain types of projects.  This means that a public call will be made for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) under specified themes and sub themes of the programme within a defined time frame. Time specific / targeted calls will be widely publicised in local press and on GRD’s website.  

The purpose of time specific calls is to;

  • Target funding where it delivers most value
  • Award funding based on a comparative assessment
  • Secure equal opportunities for all potential applicants
  • Ensure funding is available for the duration of the programme

Local Development Strategy

The Local Development Strategy (LDS) for East Galway was submitted to the Department 31st March 2017 for approval.  The Department has since approved this LDS. This LDS sets out the objectives and actions proposed for the new LEADER programme.  As per Department Guidelines there are three main themes for the LEADER programme which guided the strategy development. 


The first step in applying for LEADER funding is to complete an Expression of Interest Form.  This form which details your proposed project will be reviewed against East Galway’s Local Development Strategy and the Operational Rules of the Programme which will determine if your project is eligible for funding and if you can advance to the next stage of the Application Process.

Failure to complete this form completely will result in a delay in dealing with your Expression of Interest and any further processing of any subsequent application arising therefrom for funding under RDP 2014-2020. 

All Fields are mandatory and must be completed. Download the relevant form here:

Expression of Interest LEADER 2014 -2020 (english)

Complete and Submit your form:


Post:  Galway Rural Development, Mellows Campus, Athenry, Co. Galway.

The Operating Rules of the Leader Programme can be found here:    LEADER OPERATING RULES 2014 - 2020 Version 3

Galway Rural Development has developed an information booklet “East Galway Local Development Strategy Summary” which provides information on the local objectives of the East Galway LEADER Programme 2014-2020. You can download a copy here :  EAST GALWAY LOCAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY SUMMARY

Galway Rural Development also developed a LEADER Handbook "Guide to LEADER in East Galway" which provided information on the application process and requirements under the Operating Rules of the Programme.

Download a copy here: 2018 GUIDE TO LEADER IN EAST GALWAY




Welcome to the Galway Rural Development website. Galway Rural Development, through the programmes we administer, will continue to work along with other agencies, groups and individuals around the county to improve the quality of life for all citizens in our area. We especially wish to work with those who are most in need of assistance, to provide real opportunities for people to gain significant improvements for themselves and their communities throughout rural Galway.

Funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.