Name / Title
Rural House (Dutch: Plattelandshuis)
Case Study Region
Westerkwartier, part of the province of Groningen
Main activity / focus
Initiate and realize LEADER projects within the Westerkwartier
Target beneficiaries / market
Rural development initiators in the Westerkwartier (Nature, Landscape & Environment, Civic & Community Development, SME support, culture & history, (multifunctional) agriculture, tourism and (agriculture).
Current Funding source(s)
The rural house comprises the WSI, the touristic catalysts, the Association Groningen Villages, The Governmental Service for Land and Water Management (DLG), a representative of the municipalities (Leek, Zuidhorn, Marum and Grootegast), Groningen Province and the LAG Westerkwartier.
Representatives of different operational agents and agencies in the rural house help grassroots development initiators with the initiation and execution of their project ideas. They also inform and stimulate citizens with regard to development of the Westerkwartier and optimize knowledge about, publicity and accessibility of the rural house. The rural house also functions as an informal knowledge network, including students and experts. It is an important element in linking education and research with rural development initiatives in the Westerkwartier.
The rural house is an access point to support and facilitation provided by public administration, including subsidies. There are two ways in which projects can apply for subsidies. Through the Living Villages Window, subsidy are provided for small-scale projects. These projects are treated in a low-threshold way. Especially for this subsidy, an expert team has been created with mandate of the LAG. Under the responsibility of the LAG, the expert team is able to make decisions on relatively small projects (max. 10,000 Euro) which contribute to the liveability of the villages (ex. Feasibility studies).
The LAG decides on projects that need LEADER finances of more than 10,000 Euro. As the LEADER programme is coming to an end, 75% of the financial resources have already been put into projects. Micro-sized entrepreneurs can also obtain subsidies:
The rural house is financed through LEADER funds. The future of the house as access point to support and facilitation after 2013 is therefore uncertain.