Agricultural business support available for farmers and growers across East Devon

A range of available support for farmers and growers across East Devon to help address the changes in agricultural support that commence in April 2019. See more


We have a new applicant handbook

Our applicant handbook has been updated. While we make all the changes to the website please take a look at this version


The Launch Event Newsletter

The Launch Event

The joint launch event for Making it Local and REAL Devon was held at the stunningly beautiful Muddifords Court in Willand on 9th May 2016 and was a wonderful evening.

We had 11 businesses who had stands and offered information and support to potential applicants.
The 65 attendees started the evening with a drink, delicious pasties and a cream tea, while taking the opportunity to network and visit the stands.

Feedback on the event was positive, many people thanking us for an informative evening. We have had 4 project leads to follow up.


The evening presentations began with a brief overview of the LEADER programme by Dominie Dunbrook the Programme Manager for both Making it Local and REAL Devon.
Cllr Richard Chesterton, Chairman of REAL Devon gave a short overview of the REAL Devon area, and what the Local action group aims to achieve. REAL Devon is new to LEADER and has never had the EU funding before. Richard spoke on behalf of himself and the Executive group members expressing how excited they are to be involved in making a real difference with this valuable money.
Richard also gave an overview of the 4 projects that have been awarded funding so far in the REAL Devon area:    


  • A Thoverton farming business that wanted to invest in new techniques by purchasing a Zero Tillage drill was awarded £12,000.
  • A Tiverton based import export Micro business was awarded £4,000 to help with a new phone system, warehouse equipment and signage for their new location, which will enable them to create new jobs and expand their export areas.
  • An Orchard near Crediton that has been running as a hobby business was awarded £15,000 to refurbish a building, purchase processing and bottling equipment to enable them to produce apple juice to sell.
  • A Winery in Clayhanger was awarded £26,000  to help them renovate and equip an old barn to enable them to increase their sparkling wine production.


Cllr Paul Diviani,  Chairman of Making it Local, spoke about his involvement with Making it Local for many years and gave a flavour of the changes that have happened since the first tranche of funding. Paul told the attendees about how much good the money has achieved previously and how there is still a long way to go and that this funding is incredibly important to help businesses in these rural areas.
Paul gave an overview of the two projects that have been awarded so far in the Making it Local area:


  • A cider producer in Ilminster who were awarded £21,000 to expand the business with the purchase of new kegging and associated equipment. This will enable them to expand their business from solely bottles into kegs in pubs.
  • A Farmer who wants to invest in a new and innovative slurry management system was awarded £15,000. The new system takes a waste product and turns it into safe and hygienic bedding for the animals.

We would like to thank all the businesses and attendees who helped to make the launch of Making it Local and REAL Devon a huge success.

Go to our website to find out more about the businesses that attended and for an overview of LEADER.



We are recruiting Paid Appraisers.
We are seeking to recruit appraisers to appraise project applications for the new LEADER programme (2015-2020).

We are extremely keen to engage a “pool” of appraisers to appraise project applications for two Local Action Groups (LAGs), Making It Local, which covers the Blackdown hills and East Devon and REAL Devon which covers mostly Mid Devon. Details of the specific areas and full programme information can be found on their respective websites: and  

The Programme management of these two LAGS is undertaken by the same team, therefore it is also felt that a joint pool of appraisers would give greater flexibility and ensure that there are always appraisers available. Devon County Council is the accountable body for the two programmes.

What skills are required?
To be an appraiser for the LEADER programme you will have a depth of skills, knowledge and experience in at least one of the following areas:


  • Agriculture and/or farm diversification
  • Rural tourism
  • Forestry
  • Rural services
  • Culture and Heritage
  • Small and micro business support

The appraisal process is very detailed so knowledge/experience in the following areas will be essential.

  • Ability to understand financial accounts and income/expenditure projections for businesses and not-for-profit organisations
  • Understanding of how to consider displacement issues and the impact of grant funding on an existing market place
  • Ability to assess appropriate fit with key programme criteria from an application form
  • Good understanding of ‘need’ and ‘demand’ as defined by the project and in line with the requirements of the programme
  • Understanding of good project management including recording outputs, monitoring and evaluation, project delivery stages, and marketing activities

Good local knowledge of the programme areas and the communities/sectors that make up each of these areas.

A sound knowledge of issues facing rural communities and businesses would also be helpful.  Ideally you will have previous appraisal experience – but this is not essential if you have the some of the above skills.

What is the payment for undertaking an appraisal?
There is a fixed fee of £200 per appraisal.  You must be self-employed or have a business status to be able to become an appraiser. 

How much time will an appraisal take?
The appraisal template is very complex.  Our current experience is that appraisals can take up to 7 hours to complete.  There may also be a requirement to review and update an appraisal if it is ‘failed’ by the RPA on the quality control checking process.  We would expect an appraisal to take no longer than 10 hours.

How many appraisals will I be asked to do?
It is not expected that any one appraiser will be asked to undertake more than 5 appraisals during the programme lifetime.  If more than 5 are required this will be done on a case-by-case basis with prior agreement from the appraiser.

What is required?
The appraisal process is a desk based activity – no project visits or contact with the applicant is made by the appraiser.  The only communication made is between the appraiser and the programme team office.
 The appraisal paperwork will be mostly available electronically, but there may also be the transfer of the project file, which the applicant will be responsible for whilst it is in their possession.  Devon County Council operates using ‘sharepoint’ which we will set up for all appraisers to access the appropriate project files.
 IT literacy and good broadband availability is essential. 

What training will be available?
We have set up a training session that all new appraisers will be required to attend.  You will not be able to undertake any appraisals until you have been fully trained.  Further details of the training session were provided in the covering email – a session has been set for July 12th in the Cullompton Community Centre.  The costs for attending this training will have to be met by the appraiser, but we will provide refreshments and lunch and cover mileage if appropriate receipts for petrol can be provided.
We may then undertake refresher sessions if we feel it is needed or if updates to the programme criteria/processes are issued by the RPA.
What do I do next?
If you are interested in registering your interest for being an appraiser for the LEADER programmes in Devon then please email Linda Wilson, Programme Officer.  We will then let you know what the next stage is.

If you would like to discuss this opportunity before you register your interest please contact the Programme Manager, Dominie Dunbrook on 01392 383000 or email



We are looking for Appraisers

We are looking to recruit more appraisers. Details can be found on the Get involved page.


Making it Local and REAL Devon Launch Event

Places are limited, booking is essential, to book a place click here


We are open!

£1.4 million for rural economy in parts of Mid and East Devon and Somerset


The rural economy in parts of Mid and East Devon, and Somerset, will be bolstered with £1.4 million of funding support, Devon County Council has announced.


The County Council is overseeing two EU funded LEADER grants programmes, which aims to create jobs and help to develop rural businesses.


The Council is working in close partnership with a number of organisations to deliver a successful funding programme.  The AONB’s, Local Authorities and other delivery partners will be providing support to businesses and organisations who are looking to access the funding.


The Making it Local Action Group serves parts of Mid and East Devon and Somerset, covering parishes of the Blackdown Hills, East Devon AONB and surrounding gateway market towns. This will oversee the delivery of more than £1.4 million of funding over the next three years.


The Local Action Group will act as a panel, made up of private and community sector representatives, to award grants locally to farmers, growers, foresters, other local rural businesses and rural community organisations. It will support projects that create opportunities to improve the local economy in terms of jobs and growth, as well as improving the quality of life in the area.


Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet member for Economy and Growth, said: “Supporting the growth and development of a diverse rural economy is a key priority for the County Council, and LEADER funding will offer a genuine boost for local communities. Partnership working between local organisations is vital to this scheme to help secure this money for rural businesses and communities in Devon.” 


Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council and Chair of the Making it Local Action Group, said: “We have supported the delivery of LEADER funding to the communities within the Blackdown Hills and East Devon AONB areas for a number of years already. This latest round of LEADER funding gives us the opportunity to really focus on the small businesses and diverse communities that contribute so much to our vibrant economy through the Making it Local area. Funding will support business growth and job creation as well as improvements to local services and facilities within our communities”.


The LEADER grants programme has six priorities, which are to:


•           increase farm productivity;

•           support micro and small businesses and farm diversification;

•           boost rural tourism;

•           provide rural services;

•           provide cultural and heritage activities; and

•           increase forestry productivity.


The scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) which is run by DEFRA and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).


To find out more about the funding programme visit the Local Action Group website at


Making it Local now has a staff team in place

Making it Local now has a staff team in place, jointly managing the REAL Devon LAG in addition to Making it Local.   They are hosted by the Accountable Body for the programme, Devon County Council and will be based partly at County Hall and partly in Honiton.

Dominie Dunbrook, our Programme Manager brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from six years of managing the Somerset Levels and Moors LAG, in addition to previously managing and securing funding from a wide range of other national and EU grants programmes.

Linda Wilson our Programme Officer has a background in grants administration, finance and office project management, gained through her time at DCC and the Countryside Agency, amongst other roles.

We are both really looking forward to getting started and seeing all your exciting project ideas. We are here to help, so please contact us at:


Telephone: 01392 383000 and ask for Linda Wilson

You can also follow us on twitter @makingitlocal


Funding Event - Presentations

See the presentations from the recent funding event:-


Local Development Strategy

Are you interested in reading the full Local Development Strategy bid to Defra?  Now available here 


Agricultural business support available for farmers and growers across East Devon



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