THE success of the EU’s rural project fund, LEADER, has triggered moves to develop a new scheme to cover 2015 to 2020.

Amy Thomas, who led the programme at the North York Moors National Park which is just nearing completition, said the new project would have six priorities – increasing farm productivity, farm diversification, support rural tourism, culture and heritage, provide rural services and increase forestry production.

“A key element will be to have a strong partnership with the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnerships within our LEADER area,” she said.

The first LEADER programme had been well received locally, and enjoyed a high profile within local communities in the National Park, said Amy.

In excess of 300 projects have been supported with investment of £5.3m.

Among the schemes aided are a history project at Chop Gate, a geophysical survey at Roxby Old Manor, Handale Abbey Gate Project, which saw children studying folk lore and legend to design a gate for the site.

A conservation area was enhanced at Rosedale Abbey, a wildflower area created at West Ayton and a honeybee conservation project helped to rescue a native bee population by buying 30 hives, a memorial garden at Hutton-le-Hole and wildflower garden, and the restoration of a pond at Rosedale East.

“Many other historical structures and village features were also restored through the scheme as the village pinfolds at Osmotherly, Hackness and Spaunton, Lockton Well, Kildale tomb chests, horse troughs at Hartoft, Goathland and Lastingham, Lythe, and Hutton-le-Hole war memorials.