203Rural residents and business leaders are being asked to join a new executive board to help decide how over £1.5 million in European funding is spent in their area.

The Durham Coast and Lowlands LEADER programme, overseen by Durham County Council, is looking for people to join its Local Action Group (LAG) executive board. The latest in the national LEADER programme will see €1.98 million in funding available between 2015 and 2020 to create jobs and boost the countryside economy by supporting businesses, tourism, heritage and rural services.

Expressions of interest are now being sought from individuals and businesses with a range of knowledge and experience from the local public, private and community sectors for the LAG executive board. The board will be responsible for identifying and supporting the projects to benefit from the funding.

The Durham Coast and Lowlands area covers the east of County Durham, including the coast stretching from Dawdon to Crimdon, the rural south of the county such as Newton Aycliffe and Sedgefield as well as part of southern Sunderland.

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local residents and businesses in rural areas to have a real say in how their communities can benefit from this funding. We’d encourage anyone with the skills and experience to get in touch and play a part in this exciting project.”

Anyone interested can contact the council for more information or an application form by emailing durhamcoastandlowlands@durham.gov.uk or calling 03000 266894. The deadline for applications is Friday, 30 October.