There are 180 local action groups in the Czech Republic, they improve life in the countryside

25. 1. 2021
If rural life has been improved and made more enjoyable in the last two decades, it is also thanks to local action groups (LAGs). They started for the first time 19 years ago. Today, there are about 180 of them in the Czech Republic. Their main role is mainly in supporting projects for which it is possible to use European subsidies. However, more active groups not only distribute money, but enter the life of the region through various activities and the locals know about them, said Ondřej Konečný from the Faculty of Regional Development and International Studies at Mendel University in Brno, who is also chairman of the Vysočina Gate LAG in the Tišnov region.

According to Konečný, although people can perceive groups mainly from the perspective of subsidies and the issuance of calls, many LAGs develop the countryside with their activities beyond subsidies. “They connect important actors in the countryside, encourage them to take action and, in particular, the group itself carries out a number of activities beneficial to the development of the territory. It depends on how people in the group understand its role, “said Konečný, who is currently working with the GaREP team to publish a book called Local Action Groups: Rural Leaders. , which was supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic and tried to map the current activities of the groups and look for their new roles.

The groups have already established themselves sufficiently in the Czech Republic, have gained respect and recognition and are to play an important role in rural development in the next EU programming period from 2021 to 2027. The groups participate in projects usually in the field of education, tourism, social and community services, take care of improving the environment or promote regional products. They use money from the EU the most, but they also have support from their own partners, from the region and from the state.

According to Konečný, many projects are very inspiring, some even abroad. For example, the Brdy-Vltava LAG operating in Central Bohemia coordinates the activities of social services so that each municipality does not have to have its own contract with service operators, which reduces administration and makes operation cheaper. Other groups are trying to strengthen community services so that the need for institutionalized social care is a last resort, as it is also usually the most expensive aid. LAG Rožnovsko, in turn, initiated the creation of micronesli, which help parents of the youngest children. Konečný also named some other stimulating projects that are worth following. For example, in Brandýs nad Labem, a charity shop was established, where people carry functional, unnecessary things that others can buy. A costume rental shop was established in Starý Poddvorov.

LAGs can include municipalities with less than 25,000 inhabitants, the whole group must have a minimum of 10,000 and a maximum of 100,000 inhabitants. In addition to the municipality, the groups also have other partners from the public, non-profit and private sectors or individuals who work with them and help to develop the countryside together. Group chairmen have been and often are mayors who are among the most active in the countryside and are often natural leaders in development and come up with new ideas, or they can take them on board and help promote them. “In the beginning, the LAG cost much more to volunteer than it does now. I am based on the assumption that the external support for group management has gradually expanded and now the so-called LAG office consists mostly of professionals for whom it is a “full-time” job, “said Konečný.

Contact for more information: Mgr. Ondrej Konecny, Ph. D., e-mail:, Department of Regional Development, Faculty of Regional Development and International Studies

More news

All news