Cambridgeshire Fens LEADER

See how our LEADER programme has supported rural economic growth.

About the project


The Cambridgeshire Fens LEADER programme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). RDPE is European funding that provides support for economic, social and environmental development in rural areas. The funding comes from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on behalf of Defra.

Why is this needed?

The vision for LEADER is to support the sustainable development of the rural economy by investing in projects which optimise the unique assets of the Cambridgeshire Fens, offer good value for money, and strengthen the sustainable economic, social and environmental well-being of local communities. The case study below details the support provided to a unique local business and the wider benefits it brought to the local area.

Hannam’s Wake Hub was set up in 2012 by brothers Ben and Terry Hannam along with Ben’s wife, Jess Hannam. It began as a straight-line cable park with a minimal capacity which focussed on coaching new people who wanted to try wakeboarding or riders who wanted to progress their skills on a wakeboard. After five seasons of operating in this way, the facility had reached capacity and needed to expand otherwise the business would stagnate.

After a period of market research, it was determined that the next step for progression were to either focus on the company’s core market and to add a full-size cable (with a survey of customers showing 60% would like a full-size cable at the park) to cope with a greater number of wakeboarders or to branch out to add an Aquapark as a wider tourism attraction. Financing any kind of development through commercial lending was not viable for the business, but then they came across the Cambridgeshire Fens LEADER grant fund offering up to 40% grants on capital expenditure to grow small businesses. The business was a good fit to the LEADER strategy for the Cambridgeshire Fens, creating jobs, attracting more visitors to the area, and building sustainable growth for the business.

In the end they submitted two applications for both projects and were successful. With a grant of £114,000 towards a capital investment of just under £290,000, the business has gone from strength to strength.

How can you get involved?

Although LEADER funding has now closed, Cambridgeshire ACRE fully supports the continuation of this type of approach to place-based locally devolved funding. We can also advise on other funding streams that are currently available and where you can get help.

What impact has our work had?

Investment in Hannam’s Wake Hub and Aquapark created:


In June 2021, the Cambridge & Peterborough Combined Authority launched Growth Works, a Business Board and Combined Authority-funded Growth Service which will deliver at least 5,278 new jobs, 1,400 new apprenticeships and generate significant inward investment in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough over the next three years. You can find out more about the programme’s four service lines and how the programme will support workers, learners and business leaders by watching a recording of the public launch webinar.


“We not only improved the facilities available to local residents, but also attracted visitors from further afield, increasing local spending and helping boost the local economy.”

Ben Hannam, Hannam’s Wake Hub


Watch Phillip Bradshaw of Flegcroft Farm promote his LEADER investment and talk about the impact the grant he received had on his farming business and its environmental impact.

Further case studies

Useful links

Who can I talk to about this work?