Wales Council for Deaf People project participant, Ellie (right) talks to her Transport for Wales colleague Helen (middle) with the assistance of her interpreter (left)

The impact of European funding in Wales

Published : 10/03/23 | Categories: News |

Our new report explores how voluntary organisations used EU funding to create lasting change for Welsh people and communities.

In a period spanning over 20 years, voluntary organisations made a huge impact across a range of key social issues in Wales thanks to European Structural Funds.

The three funding programmes, starting in 2000, saw the voluntary sector delivering vital projects that supported people and communities, and actively shaping policy and the design of the programmes themselves.

Our report – The impact of European funding in Wales – highlights how Welsh voluntary organisations, through their involvement in European funded projects, were able to contribute to four broader policy objectives.


European funding has been an important driver in promoting equality, human rights and inclusion in Wales over the past 25 years. 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.


Voluntary organisations in Wales used European funding to support some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in society. The sector ran projects that helped people to find meaningful employment or develop skills that were a key step on their employment journey.


Since 2000, European Structural Funds have been used successfully to stimulate the growth and development of the social enterprise sector in Wales. The European Regional Development Fund has enabled organisations such as Cwmpas and WCVA to support new and existing social businesses with expert business advice and accessible financial assistance, even turning EU investment into a recyclable source of funding that is re-invested in the sector.


Sustainable development has been one of the key overarching objectives of EU policies for over 20 years and it has been embedded in the design and delivery of European Structural Funds. Funding enabled voluntary organisations to deliver projects that addressed ecological issues and economic growth in a socially and environmentally responsible way.


You can read more about the themes outlined above, including examples of the difference that voluntary organisations in Wales made, by reading the full report.

We have also commissioned UKRCS to produce an independent research report that reviews the impact of European Funding on the voluntary sector in Wales over the course of its lifetime. You can read the report here.

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