An Irish community lobbying body has asked candidates for local and EU elections to sign pledges which will improve access to EU funding and improve the way community organisations receive state funding.
Members of The Wheel’s Community Matters group have launched an online pledge campaign aimed at all the candidates who will take part in the 24th May poll. Hundreds of candidates will take part in the council elections while 59 have declared for the EU elections. To date, 31 local candidates have signed the local election pledge and 9 the EU pledge.
Community Matters say the majority of EU funding programmes require organisations to match funding from their own resources and that this presents a barrier for many nonprofit organisations. The pledge therefore asks candidates if elected to commit to supporting the principle of a dedicated National Fund to serve as a matching income source for nonprofit organisations that are successful in their applications for EU programmes.
In addition, Community Matters say funding and partnership opportunities from the EU should reflect the unique realities faced by nonprofit organisations working in Ireland and elected EU members of parliament should commit to encouraging EU funders to consider the high cost of delivering services in Ireland and increase operating grants to support the vital work of the nonprofit sector in long-term.
Reflecting the widely held view that EU funding applications are overly complex they call for simplification of application procedures for EU funding programmes.
In relation to local elections, community and voluntary organisations and charities have experienced reductions in funding and capacity, the lobby group says. While a high standard of application processes, project design and management is essential, this comes at a cost and it takes time Community Matters calls for secure multi-annual funding to plan their work.
The Wheel is Ireland’s national association of community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises.
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