The RRDF seeks to support ambitious and strategic projects that have the potential to transform rural economies and communities. The Government has committed €1 billion over ten years to the fund and €315 million is allocated to the fund for the period 2019-2022, with €52 million allocated to the fund for 2019. Following the conclusion of the first call under the fund in February 2019, a total of 84 successful projects had been announced with funding of €86 million provided from the fund to support projects worth a total of €117 million.
Significant progress is being made on the implementation of these projects. A number of the projects have reached their first progress milestone and had funding released. To date, a total of €16 million has been drawn down from the fund by 29 separate projects and I expect payments from the fund will continue to accelerate over the coming weeks and months. Notwithstanding this progress, due to the requirement for due diligence and the time it takes for projects of the size supported by the fund to carry out procurement and get fully up and running, it is clear that savings will likely materialise in this subhead this year.
In that regard, I am pleased that demand under the LEADER programme has ramped up significantly this year and although I initially allocated €30 million to the programme, expenditure stands at approximately €33.3 million. Given this strong performance, I have, therefore, allocated an additional €10 million to the programme to cater for this increase in 2019. This is being reallocated from the savings to be realised under the RRDF subhead this year. I will continue to monitor spend and any savings will be used to benefit other demands under the rural and community programmes of the Department.
The improved activity in the LEADER programme is a welcome development, with more than 2,400 projects now being funded across Ireland. In this regard, I announced this week an additional allocation of €5 million to the ten local action groups most advanced in delivering the programme. These projects, along with the major strategic projects being progressed through the RRDF, are delivering significant economic and social development in rural areas throughout the country. I expect to make an announcement on future rural regeneration scheme projects shortly and am pleased with the great interest in this fund.