We give an update on our work around the future funding landscape in Wales and the UK.
The voluntary sector has played a pivotal role in the planning and delivery of the European programmes in Wales. The sector’s used the funding to design innovative and people-centred services for some of Wales’s most in need individuals and communities. WCVA also has its own history with the European programmes. We’ve delivered many projects, spanning over 20 years and in 2014 we were made an Intermediary Body – allowing us to distribute over £48 million in accessible sized grants to some of the very smallest voluntary groups, right through to large multi-national charities.
We don’t want the sector’s achievements to disappear along with the European programmes. That’s why we’re pushing, at every stage, for voluntary sector involvement in any decisions made about UK Government’s new funding streams – highlighting what the sector can contribute and achieve if we’re properly engaged and resourced.
CHANGE OF DRIECTION
Much of this is new territory for us and the sector. Over the last twenty plus years, Welsh Government has been in the driving seat with European funding in Wales and, even though they remain a key ally and partner, we have to strengthen our links with UK Government. We’re making sure we’re part of the conversations that count with those who are making the decisions – attending engagement meetings, big and small, writing to those in positions of influence and responding to consultations and requests for evidence. Wherever possible we are doing this in partnership with other Welsh and UK-wide organisations including our sister councils.
INFLUENCING – WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO
Here’s a snapshot of some of our recent influencing work in this space. We’ve:
- Partnered with a range of UK voluntary organisations to send a joint letter to various UK Government Ministers and MPs, following the recently published UKSPF pre-launch guidance – this was covered in Civil Society.
- Become part of a UKSPF voluntary sector working group to help push the devolved perspective in these discussions.
- Held an information session for the Cities and Local Government Wales team which focused on the existing funding landscape in Wales and the achievements and impacts the voluntary sector’s made with EU funding.
- Written to Neil O’Brien (Parliamentary Under Secretary for Levelling Up, The Union and Constitution) about opening up the lines of communication between his department and the sector in Wales.
- Written to Neil Kinnock MP in his role as Chair of the APPG on post-Brexit funding about the impact of the loss of EU funding to Wales the sector and the people who live and work here.
- Consulted with voluntary organisations in Wales on the Community Renewal Fund. The feedback and recommendations became a paper sent to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
- Published a statement in partnership with our sister councils outlining key principles most voluntary organisations want reflected in the new funds, including the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
- Attended several meetings about the new UK Government funding streams, with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
- Wrote a joint letter to Welsh Government’s Economy Minister, outlining some of the sector’s concerns for the UKSPF and the imminent impact of the loss of EU funding – WCVA and the sector was subsequently mentioned in the Economy Minster’s Stronger Regional Economies statement.
- Written and engaged with local government colleagues proposing recommendations on how local government and the voluntary sector can work in partnership to ensure the effective and inclusive rollout of future funding streams in Wales. This is in recognition of the key role local authorities have had and will continue to play in the new funding programmes (including the UKSPF).