#OurEUStory Award winners announced at 2023 Access Europe Showcase

Posted on
4 Dec 2023
by Emily Nelson

We were delighted to announce the three lucky winners of the #OurEUStory Awards at the 2023 Access Europe Showcase at the Royal Dublin Society last week.

Irish civil society organisations from around the country entered the #OurEUStory Awards competition which celebrates the transformational impact that EU-funded projects have on communities throughout Ireland. Each entrant posted a video on social media telling the story of their very own EU funded project’s journey.

Minister of State for International Development and Diaspora Seán Fleming TD was in attendance to congratulate the winners and deliver the keynote speech for the Showcase. Minister Fleming spoke about the importance of Access Europe and capitalising on EU programme opportunities, citing several examples of successful projects throughout the country. He also emphasised the positive influence of the European Union on Irish life over the last 50 years of our membership, and especially as we have transitioned from net recipients and net contributors of the EU budget. Minister Fleming highlighted that while we still have much to learn, we also have so much to share as a country with our European neighbours and European funding is an excellent means to exchange innovation and best practice.  

Watch all the inspiring #OurEUStory Award entries and check out the three winning entries to learn just how impactful EU funded projects can be:

In addition to the #OurEUStory Award Ceremony, the Access Europe Showcase featured an expo of the Irish National Contact Points for various EU funding programmes. The NCPs shared information about their respective programmes and Showcase attendees took the opportunity to explore potential EU funding pathways for their organisations and network with both sector representatives and EU stakeholders.

The Showcase’s main stage event was expertly moderated by content creator and presenter Vanessa Ogbonna. Ivan Cooper, CEO of The Wheel, kicked off the proceedings by underlining the tremendous effect programmes such as Access Europe can have on influencing EU policy and demonstrating that Ireland is a key player in EU collaboration. Emma Murtagh, Senior European Programmes Manager at The Wheel, then brought attendees on a journey back through 2023 by sharing Access Europe’s main achievements thus far - namely supporting a drawdown of over €12 million of EU funding into Irish communities by 88 organisations, with 50% of those organisations having no or limited experience of EU funding.

Bringing Irish EU funding success stories to life was our Showcase panel featuring Ruth Hurley from Ballymun Job Centre, Kay McCabe from Involve Youth and Community Services, and José Ospina from Carbery Housing Association. The panellists shared their expertise around applying for and managing EU funding including the learnings, challenges and the rewards.  

All in all, it was a fantastic day full of learning and networking opportunities around EU funding and the opportunities it unlocks for civil society. We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this fantastic event happen and to all our enthusiastic attendees. Be sure to keep in touch with Access Europe in 2024 - sign up to our free monthly newsletter for regular EU funding updates!