Corona Virus and FVL LEADER 18/03/2020

We just wanted to give you all an update as we have received quite a few calls to the office regarding changes to projects and any possible changes to the way that project claims will be paid in the current corona pandemic period which has affected a lot of projects in different ways.

We are waiting for further guidance to come from the LEADER managing authority at the Scottish Government, but in the meantime here are some actions we are now taking:

  1. The FVL LEADER team are now all working from home in order to ensure that staff can continue to support projects and process grant claims with as little disruption as possible – this is to protect staff but also to minimise any spread of virus which would impact on our ability to process your claims.
  2. Because we are now working from home it does mean that it may take us longer than usual to respond to your emails or messages, this is also because in the last week we have received more calls than normal (understandably), but please be patient with us so we can work through everyone’s claims. We are prioritising the processing and payment of claims as cashflow is very important for so many of you.
  3. All claims on LARCS are being worked on.
  4. The current rules governing the running of LEADER still apply,  if there are any changes to this we will be in contact. 
  5. Please continue to submit your original documents to us but do this BY POST (to the LEADER office) and not in person.  If this is not possible please let us know.  Equally, if you do not want us to return your originals to you until the pandemic is passed, then please let us know.
  6. If you have any specific questions about your project or your claims, or difficulties you may be experiencing, please contact your regular LEADER contact or myself by email or by phone.  Can we ask that you keep these calls to a minimum though to allow us to focus on the processing of claims.
  7. Please keep yourself and others safe by not travelling more than you have to.
  8. At a personal level if you are experiencing difficulties because you are self-isolating, or know someone who is, we would like to flag up some innovative LEADER projects running in the rural area that may be able to help you:
    1. the regional food hubs project now has hubs in Balfron and Stirling where local food growers and suppliers sell their produce once a week – both hubs are now offering some home delivery for those who need it, there are also drop off points in various locations. Another hub is in development in Killin/Callander but not up and running yet.
    2. The Crowdfunding coaching project is moving to delivering all their workshops online.  The Crowdfunder platform is also waiving their fee for small businesses wanted to Crowdfund.
    3. Broadband provision has been improved in a number of communities now (Aberfoyle, Callander, Balquhidder, Argaty, Brig O’Turk, Stronachlachar) Some communities now have ‘business hub’ facilities you can use to save you travelling too far to borrow a desk and good wifi if you need it (Aberfoyle, Drymen and Balquhidder)

There will be other helpful initiatives underway in the rural area – if you would like to spread the word about a particular initiative you have come across, please let us know and we will circulate it.

Keep safe and healthy, from all of us at FVL LEADER