European Projects

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:

You can also contact The Wheel’s European Team at  

The Wheel is the Irish national contact point for the EU’s Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) funding programme, which aims to support employment, social policy and labour mobility across the EU. 

We have a dedicated EaSI website and helpdesk and provide the following services for Irish civil society organisations:

  • basic guidance on EaSI regulations 
  • assistance finding project partners 
  • help with development of project ideas  
  • advice on concept notes 
  • updates to applications on calls for proposals and other EaSI programme news.

To find out more, contact us at

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  


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 today. 

The key objective of this Erasmus+ funded project is to highlight the importance of, engage with and assist to improve and revitalize the social mission and business model and activities of LESE (long established social economy) organisations. Another key objective of the project is to allow partners to broaden their knowledge of LESE and the Social Economy both locally and across Europe.

This project will work with social economy representatives and assist them to increase the impact of their work with vulnerable individuals and communities. The training will be flexible and address the local needs of participants. The training programme developed will be made available widely so that LESE across Europe can get assistance where currently little exists.  

The social economy refers to a diversity of enterprises and organisational models such as cooperatives, mutuals, associations, foundations, social enterprises, charities and other legal forms regulated at Member State level. The terms “social economy” and “social enterprise” can be used somewhat interchangeably, we are using the term “social economy organisations” in this project. 

The Wheel is carrying out the RevitaLESE project with partners Act Grupa, Synthesis Center for Research and Education, Social Innovation Centre, Skills Zone, Knowl Social Enterprise for Education and Lifelong Learning and Dublin City University (DCU). Social Economy Europe (SEE) is our associated partner on this project. 

You can stay up to date with the RevitaLESE project by following on Facebook and LinkedIn.  View our first project newsletter (April 2022) here and our second project newsletter (February 2023) here.

For more information on RevitaLESE, contact CathyAnne Fox at 

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. 

EU engage is funded by the European Parliament Directorate General for Communication and ran 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  

The Europe for Citizens Programme was the European Commission’s funding programme to promote understanding between the Union and its citizens. It ran from 2014 to 2020 and funded activities carried out by a range of not-for-profit organisations, local authorities and research institutes across Europe. 

The specific aim of the programme was to contribute to citizens’ understanding of the EU’s history and diversity. It also aimed to foster European citizenship and encourage democratic engagement at EU level. 

In Ireland, The Wheel was the National Contact Point for the Europe for Citizens Programme and provided: 

  • Information on the programme criteria 

  • Training and workshops 

  • Application advice 

  • Partner search support. 

To mark the programme’s end in Ireland, The Wheel hosted a special celebratory event online which you can watch here. During this event, The Wheel also provided an overview of the Citizenship, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme which is the Europe for Citizens successor programme for 2021 to 2027.  

Visit the project results page to learn about all the successfully funded Europe for Citizens projects.  

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. 

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:

For more information about SCOPE please email Lauren Carroll on

F4S3 kicked off in December 2020 with 4 partners entering into a 2 year Erasmus+ project. Partners include: The Wheel, WCVA (Wales), Sivis Study Centre (Finland) and the University of Bamberg (Germany).

Foundations 4 Sector 3 (F4S3) is an induction training programme for the nonprofit community. Designed for people who have recently started working in the sector, including new entrants, recent college graduates, or those who have made a career change. The course will provide you with an understanding of how the third sector functions. The areas covered include: 

  • Landscape of the Third Sector

  • Public Policy & Advocacy

  • Professional Skills Necessary to Work in the Third Sector

  • Personal Skills Necessary to Work in the Third Sector.

The programme uses a blended learning approach with both face-to-face learning and webinars or can be fully run online. It has been developed in line with the European Qualification Framework (EQF), Level 4 and learning is validated and certified using digital badges.  The training programme is available to anyone new to the sector and is free of charge.  F4S3 has been developed with partners in Ireland, Wales, Finland, Germany. Each  partner has run two pilot training  programmes in early 2022. View all resources here on the F4S3 website:

For more information on Foundation4Sector3 contact CathyAnne Fox on