European Projects

Posted on 7 Aug 2018

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

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:

The Wheel is leading a two-year ERASMUS+ project that kicked off in 2018 with partners from Scotland, Finland, Latvia and Estonia.

The organisations 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.

Geographical, financial, accessibility, and time restraints can make it difficult for members of the project partner organisations  to engage in training and much needed capacity building. Communicating the skills gained through training often does not happen, so skill recognition, job mobility and employability are also affected.

The SCOPE project aims to address these challenges through the development of online learning content for the identified core needs of our members. An online platform will be created, housing The Wheel’s training content and will serve as a sustainable tool for each partner to continue to develop and update in line with their ongoing training needs.

If you would like your organisation to participate in the pilot phase of this training project, please contact The Wheel’s European Programme Officer, Lauren:

The Wheel is collaborating with the European Parliament Liaison Offices in Ireland to support the delivery of the European Parliament Ambassador School programme across the country.

Running since 2015, this programme aims to create a permanently increasing network of schools, teachers, and students that engage with the European Parliament, its Members, and the Liaison Office. It encourages students to study and understand European democracy and discuss European issues.  In Ireland, over 50 secondary schools are now participating.

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’d like to find out more contact The Wheel’s European Programme Officer or visit

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

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 twenty 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 today.

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 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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