European Projects

Posted on 7 Aug 2018 Last updated on 10 Dec 2020

The Wheel participates in and delivers a number of European programmes and projects that aim to activate involvement in Europe among Irish community, voluntary and charitable organisations and social enterprises, and improve our offerings to members.


 

Current Projects

Access Europe is an EU funding support and capacity building service for Irish civil society, coordinated by The Wheel and funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs. It is based on a previous, successful programme that ran from 2014 – 2017 (see “Previous Projects” below) and was funded by Atlantic Philanthropies.  

Its vision is an Irish civil society that is highly engaged in EU policy development and funding programmes. 

Objectives include:  

  1. Raise awareness of the value of strategic involvement in EU programmes and share information on EU funding opportunities.   

  1. Build the capacity of Irish civil society organisations to apply for and win funding from EU programmes.  

  1. Support the development of partnerships between Irish civil society organisations and potential national and European partners, as well as national agencies, contact points and other institutions that promote participation in EU programmes and relevant social economy and civil society-related policymaking.   

Access Europe provides information and advice, training, helpdesk support and network building opportunities for civil society organisations around all aspects of EU funding.  

You can find out more about this project and sign up to Access Europe for free at: www.accesseurope.ie

You can also contact The Wheel’s European Team at europe@wheel.ie.  

EU engage is funded by the European Parliament Directorate General for Communication and runs from January 2020 – June 2022.  

The overall aim of this project is to engage Irish civil society, and by extension the thousands of communities they represent, as active European citizens.  

This will be achieved through: 

  • Developing new website content to reflect the new EU programmes and policy under the 2021 – 2027 multi-annual financial framework, so that Irish communities have the information they need to understand and engage in EU policy, 

  • A series of podcasts with Irish MEPs so that communities throughout Ireland can connect with their elected representatives in the EU and learn about their stance on issues relevant to civil society,  

  • An “Engaging with Europe” session at The Wheel’s annual summit that will showcase opportunities and challenge participants to identify what they could achieve through engagement in Europe.  

The above activities will be underpinned by a communications campaign that will ensure information about our web content, podcasts, and events reaches the people who can benefit most from engaging in it.  

To find out more about this project, contact The Wheel’s European Programmes Team at europe@wheel.ie.  

The Wheel are delighted to continue working alongside the European Parliament Liaison Office in Ireland (EPLO) to deliver the European Parliament Ambassadors Schools Programme (EPAS) for a further four years. Running since 2015, the EPAS programme engages with 65 secondary schools nationwide. 

The aim of the programme is to increase awareness of Europe, democracy and political choice among young people across the EU. Coordinating the delivery of this programme promotes The Wheel’s objective to support active citizenship by promoting the range and quality of opportunities and resources to help people get more involved in civic life, as well as celebrating and promoting the benefits of active citizenship. 

If you would like more information about EPAS please contact Sinéad Vaughan on 01 4548727 or sinead@wheel.ie.  

 

Is your organisation involved in an EU funded project or are you about to start one?  The Wheel operates a European Project Managers Network to support peer-to-peer learning and support in this area. The network meets quarterly. 

Launched in 2018 thanks to funding from the Communicating Europe initiative from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Wheel’s network now has over thirty active members and is growing. 

We believe that organisations that engage in European projects provide the communities they represent with unique opportunities to participate in cultural, creative, and educational exchanges and projects and benefit from word class research, innovation, and education. They showcase the value of Europe at its best and translate into real terms the meaning of European participation at community level. 

European development also strengthens our sector by diversifying funding streams, fostering best practice at international standards, and promoting collaboration and innovation. In turn, our sector can aid European decision-makers by sharing their expertise and ensuring that the policies affecting them and their beneficiaries are appropriate and effective. 

To join the network and avail of this important support group, contact europe@wheel.ie today. 

The Europe for Citizens Programme helps promote understanding between the Union and its citizens. It funds activities carried out by a range of not-for-profit organisations, local authorities and research institutes across Europe.

The specific aim of the 2014 – 2020 programme is to contribute to citizens’ understanding of the EU’s history and diversity. It also aims to foster European citizenship and encourage democratic engagement at EU level.

In Ireland, The Wheel is the National Contact Point for the Europe for Citizens Programme providing:

  • Information on the programme criteria
  • Training and workshops
  • Application advice
  • Partner search.

You can download the Europe for Citizens leaflet to find out about the types of projects available and visit the Europe for Citizens website for more information. You can also email the European Programmes Team at The Wheel with any questions about the programme: europe@wheel.ie.

Kicking off in December 2020, The Wheel and project partners WCVA (Wales), Sivis Study Centre (Finland) and the University of Bamberg (Germany) are entering into a two-year Erasmus+ project; Foundations 4 sector 3. The focus of this two-year strategic partnership is to develop a training programme that will support new entrants to the third sector (up to 18 months working or volunteering in the sector). The "third sector" in this case comprises community, voluntary and charitable organisations, and social enterprises. 

The F4S3 programme will offer two training modules using a blended learning approach. Module 1 will focus on sector-specific knowledge and will consist of two days face-to-face training augmented by two online training sessions utilising webinars and online communication platforms. Module 2 will focus on personal and professional development. Similarly, it will have two face-to-face training days augmented by two online training session. 

Learning will be validated using digital badges.  

For more information on Foundation4Sector3 contact Lauren Carroll on lauren@wheel.ie.  

Following the completion a two-year ERASMUS+ project that kicked off in 2018, The Wheel and partners are excited to share SCOPE: Skills Recognition, Capacity Building, and Professional Education for the Third Sector. A free, online training programme that provides valorised training in the fundamentals of Governance, Fundraising, Risk Management, Financial Management and Communications.   

The partners involved in this exciting project all share a common purpose of providing training, support, advice, and advocacy to the third sector. The "third sector" in this case comprises community, voluntary and charitable organisations, and social enterprises. 

For an overview of the SCOPE project, including an analysis of the pedagogical approach, a review of the project pilot and an insight into the sustainability and exploitation of SCOPE, check out the SCOPE project study here

SCOPE is available in English, Latvian, Finnish and Estonia. Learners can apply for and share a digital badge in recognition of the skills and competences upon completion of each training module.  

To start learning visit: https://scope-skills.eu/en-ie/start-learning/

For more information about SCOPE please email Lauren Carroll on lauren@wheel.ie

Past Projects

Access Europe was a joint initiative of thirteen grantees of the Atlantic Philanthropies. This initiative was born in 2013 to build the capacity of Irish organisations to access EU funding. It was felt that the community, voluntary, charity and social enterprise sector could strongly benefit from further engagement in EU programmes.

The Access Europe project aimed to increase the:

  • levels of EU funding available to Irish organisations,
  • profile and impact of the work of organisations as a result of increased collaborations with national and EU policy makers and organisations from other Member States,
  • capacity of Irish organisations to access and manage EU and other sources of funding,
  • opportunities for shared learning across organisations accessing EU funding.

The project had two phases. The first phase comprised of a research project to assess the potential for grantees of the Atlantic Philanthropies to access EU funds. It resulted in the production of the report: Building the Capacity to Access EU Funds – 2014 and Beyond. The second phase was the setting-up of a support service to grantees of the Atlantic Philanthropies to monitor the development of European Union programmes and related funds, to identify funding opportunities, and to assist applicants to submit applications.

Download our external evaluation by Social Researcher Brian Harvey for more information on the results of this project. 

Europe’s Future aims to build on learning gathered from The Wheel’s previous European Parliament projects funded by DGCOMM by focusing on voter activation among young people,  rural communities, and the voluntary, charity and social enterprise sector in advance the 2019 European Elections.  The Wheel is the lead coordinator of the project, managing the overall outputs and outcomes and working closely with partners SpunOut.ie and the Union of Students in Ireland to deliver.

As the only democratically elected EU institution, the European Parliament is the vehicle of public decision-making at an EU level. The Wheel sees it as essential to communicate its value to Irish citizens via our youth partners and member organisations.  A particular concern for The Wheel, its members, and rural and younger citizens is the impact of Brexit on our economic, social, and political lives so the project will address this problem and provide opportunities to learn and discuss key issues within this context.

This project involves the organisation of a series of events, both on and offline, bringing together civil society and young people with Members of the European Parliament to discuss relevant issues, as well as the creation of informational resources and a large-scale voter registration drive. 

The Wheel participated in two other European Parliament funded projects.

The Wheel's “Bridging the Gap” Programme in 2013 – 2014 was an initiative to bring the EU dimension alive in our discourses on where we as a people go from here. The aim of the project was to encourage and enable greater engagement between citizens and the European Parliament. The participants identified issues regarding how the EU itself functions. The theme of a greater role for the EU found form in various suggestions, including in tackling social disadvantage.

Our next project, “Civil Society & the European Parliament: Shaping Europe's Future”, built upon the findings of that first initiative.  It provided forums that allow community, voluntary, and charity organisations and social enterprises to follow on from their engagement with the European Parliament on the themes that emerged during the previous programme, including:

  • Social Issues
  • Environmental Sustainability issues
  • Civil Society Issues.

Overall outcomes for our sector through these projects were to:

  • understand how these themes can be adequately addressed by the Parliament at a European level,
  • understand the workings of the European Parliament and how to get these themes addressed through the appropriate committees, institutions and representatives at a European level,
  • foster a continuing dialogue between the European Parliament, its MEPs and our sector that will lead to greater trust, transparency, understanding, cooperation and participation into the future. 
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