European Success Story: Archways

Posted on 22 Nov 2018

Above: Gina McIntyre, CEO of SEUPB and Mairead McGuinness MEP with members of the Steering Group and Project Staff at the launch of The Changing Lives Initiative at the Carrickdale Hotel, Dundalk on the 6th November 2017.

This European Success Story was kindly provided by Christina Riordan, Project Manager at Archways – The Changing Lives Initiative.

About Archways

Archways is a national organisation working in collaboration with local and national agencies to promote and research evidence based programmes for children and young people.  Archways’ mission is to research, develop and deliver services for parents, children and young people to enable them to reach their full potential. 

How did Archways start their European journey?

The Changing Lives Initiative funded through the INTERREG VA Programme is Archways first successful application for European funding, one or two previous applications for EU programmes were made, but this is our first success story. 

Tell us about your project

The Changing Lives Initiative is a partnership comprising Archways (Lead Partner), Dundalk Institute of Technology, Colin Neighbourhood Partnership in Northern Ireland, the Genesis Programme in the Republic of Ireland, and NHS Highland in Scotland. The partner organisations are a mix of community, educational, and statutory bodies.

The Initiative is a cross border project operating in County Louth, West Belfast,and the Argyll and Bute Region. The project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

It offers a programme for families consisting of an information and awareness programme, a screening programme and an intervention programme in the form of an ADHD-focused Incredible Years Programme. As well as working with families, the programme provides training for those working with young children, in particular teachers and early years professionals.  

The three-year project is set to run until summer 2020 and will benefit over 2000 families during this time. Beyond those directly benefiting from the project, the goal is to provide an evidence base and framework for the expansion and continuation of this intervention programme, post project.

The project specifically contributes to Archways strategic objectives to research, develop, and deliver evidence-based solutions for children and families and to share best practice by working in, and learning from, experiences in other jurisdictions. The project also ties with Archways objective of collaboration with national and local agencies.

What are Archways’ plans for European funding going forward?

Archways intends to seek additional opportunities for EU funded projects to allow us to research, develop and deliver evidence based solutions for children and families.

What would you tell people thinking of pursuing EU funding?

Our experience has been that there is a great deal of effort required to secure and maintain our INTERREG grant.  There was a considerable lead-time and investment in the application process. We have also found the reporting and financial requirements onerous at times, especially for the community organisations involved.  However, the scale of what can be achieved with funding of this type and the potential impact is significant. Seeing the project come to fruition and witnessing the impact on families and communities has been extremely positive and rewarding. 

We would suggest any organisation considering applying for funding talk to other organisations who have availed of the same funding stream, to understand what the challenges might be. We would suggest building on existing competencies and relationships to develop projects.  Project plans should be well thought out before making the application, to pre-empt any areas that may present as issues for implementation.