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Post-EU regional development funding

Published : 14/09/23 | Categories: Funding | Influencing |

WCVA welcomes the Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee’s review of post-EU regional development funding.

Updated 22 September 2023

CLOSURE OF CHWARAE TEG

Since the original publication of this article, we have heard the sad news about the closure of Chwarae Teg.

For 30 years they have been at the forefront of the work in Wales on gender equality. During that time, and with the extensive support of EU funding, they have supported many thousands of women directly through their delivery and helped many more women indirectly through their championing, policy, research and advocacy work.

Their closure will leave a large hole in Welsh civic life.

We know that the voluntary sector in Wales is under tremendous pressure. The cost-of-living crisis has increased our costs, increased the demand for our services, put pressure on public donations, made volunteering more difficult and eroded the value of grants and contracts that we hold. The withdrawal of EU funding could not have come at a worse time even with the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. We continue to work with partners and stakeholders across Wales and beyond to highlight the vital work of the sector and how we need to be fairly funded even more so during these difficult times.

We continue to offer our support to Chwarae Teg as they go through this difficult time and we know that others from across the voluntary sector are doing the same.

The original article continues below.

Following consultation earlier in the year the Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee launched its review into Post- EU regional development funding on Tuesday 12 September 2023.

RESPONDING TO THE REVIEW

WCVA widely welcomes this report and thanks the Committee for engaging with a range of voluntary sector stakeholders in its development. WCVA’s Director of Operations, Matthew Brown, provided oral evidence to the Committee in May 2023, urging governments to work together for better outcomes and raising strong concerns about the operational rollout, delivery and timescales of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

UKSPF is UK government’s domestic replacement for the European Structural and Investment Programme (ESIF). It provides local authorities with funding for communities, places, businesses, people and skills. European funding has been an important driver in promoting equality, human rights and inclusion in Wales over the past 25 years.

THE IMPACT OF EU FUNDING

Large amounts of funding, particularly through the European Social Fund, have enabled voluntary organisations to support disadvantaged people, marginalised communities and people of all ages facing poverty and social exclusion.  Earlier this year, we published a retrospective report focusing on the legacy of European funding, which you can read about here.

We gave evidence to the Committee outlining our concerns in regards to interruptions of impactful, previously EU-funded programmes, staff losses in the sector and the immense pressure small organisations are facing as a result of the uncertainty and slow rollout of UKSPF.

We are pleased to see these concerns reflected in the findings of the report and would call on all relevant stakeholders to take forward the recommendations in the report as quickly as possible.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE WORKING

We particularly welcome the Committee’s recommendations that the UK Government should consider how the Welsh Government could aid in the delivery and design of the next round of the Shared Prosperity Fund.

We also agree that the two governments should undertake a review of whether different elements of Shared Prosperity Fund should be delivered at local, regional or all-Wales levels, based on what works best. This will ensure that future rounds of the Shared Prosperity Fund are delivered in the most effective and equitable way for all communities across Wales.

GET IN TOUCH

Your voice is important – if you’ve got anything to share with us regarding your experiences with UKSPF or the direction it could take, please contact us on policy@wcva.cymru.

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