EU funding for the community and voluntary sector in Ireland, north and south, could total around €50-€60 million a year for the next five years, according to a new research report on accessing EU funding.
Accessing EU Funds – 2015 to 2020, a Research Project by Professor Hugh Quigley, was commissioned by The Wheel.
The research notes that there is much more competition for EU funds because of the enlargement of the EU and the fact that Ireland is much wealthier than in the past, but there is still significant potential with a number of identified funding programmes.
The research identifies 21 programmes in particular which may have most potential for Ireland based on the following criteria:
• The eligible activities listed in the legislation underpinning the programme cover some or all of the activities carried out by one of more members of the Wheel
• Not-for-profit organisations are listed among the types of beneficiaries that can participate
• Ireland and Northern Ireland are included in the areas covered the programme
• There is a substantial budget for the programme for the EU as a whole and a reasonable prospect of a significant share for Ireland.
Securing EU funding is not for the ‘faint hearted’ the research says, and apart from a limited group of mainly larger organisations, experience in the community and voluntary sector of applying for, receiving and managing EU funds is scarce.
If this is to change, according to the research, some kind of support service is needed to encourage and support organisations to monitor opportunities and to apply for funds. In addition, the community sector has to be more pro-active in assessing opportunities for funding and more open to working together with similar minded groups in this process, the research says.
The research includes an appendix which summarises the 21 programmes with the most funding potential.
The research is available to download on The Wheel’s website.
Photo: euro symbol outside European Central Bank HQ by Jim Woodward