Accountancy & Banking

Published: October 16, 2019 | Updated: October 16, 2019

Rural funding seminar hears from accountant

Ian Rodd, Managing Director, Ward Goodman
By Andrew Diprose, editor

The boss of a Dorset accountancy firm was among the speakers at a LEADER seminar in Dorchester.

Ian Rodd, Managing Director of Ward Goodman, was one of nine people addressing delegates at the event, held at Kingston Maurward College.

LEADER is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and managed by Defra and the Rural Payments Agency.

It allows local people to make decisions about what, and where, rural funding would make the greatest difference.

Dorset has benefited from three successful programmes, from 2000 to 2020, each delivered by community-led Local Action Groups in support of rural prosperity and sustainable communities.

But the Dorset LEADER programme is coming to an end with the seminar organised to celebrate LEADER funding in Dorset and look ahead to the future.

Delegates listened to talks about a range of LEADER funded projects, focusing on the land-based sector, rural business, tourism and community.

With the future of rural funding uncertain, the theme of this year’s event was ‘Get ready for new beginnings and opportunities for funding in rural Dorset.’

Mr Rodd’s talk concentrated on rural business and public sector support.

Ward Goodman has been working on its own research project into the most important issues facing enterprise in rural Dorset, to see where future funding streams could be applied to make the most difference.

His presentation revealed some early findings from interviews carried out with rural business people across Dorset over the last six months.

They included using older buildings effectively and the difficulties of scaling up and employing people.

Full results of the project will be available in the New Year and could contribute to the wider LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) strategic plan for business in Dorset.

Other speakers at the seminar included representatives from Action with Communities Rural England (ACRE), Dorset Council, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, Dorset Tourism Association, Inspiring LEADER funded projects, National Farmers Union (South West), Northern Dorset Local Action Group and Southern Dorset Local Action Group.