Conference Explores Role of Civil Society in Europe

The Wheel and partners Early Years Northern Ireland are today hosting a conference on the role of civil society in Europe at Trinity College Dublin. The half-day conference celebrates the end of the Atlantic Philanthropies funded project Access Europe, which aimed to build the capacity of Irish civil society organisations to access EU funding.

The conference is partly funded by the European Parliament through the Europe’s Future project, which intends to activate community involvement in European decision-making. The event will hear the findings of the Access Europe project, stimulate engagement with key stakeholders, and spark discussion on possible future engagement in Europe, post-2020.

A number of speakers will take part in a series of talks and panels throughout the day, including Lynn Boylan MEP; Catherine Day, Former Secretary General of the European Commission; Hugh Quigley, Chairman of Access Europe; Siobhan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Early Years Northern Ireland; and Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body. Brian Harvey, social researcher and evaluator of Access Europe, presented the results of the project and a host of organisations that have been successful in EU funding shared their projects and experiences, including Youth Work Ireland, the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, and the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

Participants also have the opportunity to explore a showcase of European funding programmes available and learn about their potential from the various contact points who will be present on the day.

Speaking ahead of the event Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive of The Wheel said: “EU funding offers a multitude of exciting possibilities for civil society organisations in Ireland. Engaging in European projects can benefit organisations of all sizes, allowing them to develop new research, ideas, programmes, and resources; collaborate with and learn from partners throughout Europe, and build an international profile. We encourage all community and voluntary groups, charities and social enterprises to explore these wonderful opportunities.”

Those interested in learning more about civil society and the future of Europe are advised to contact The Wheel at europe@wheel.iefor further information.