A friend of mine once asked me what language they spoke in Europe.
She wondered whether it was ‘European’?
There’s not much you can say to that, really.
But sometimes, charities do need help with ‘speaking European’. Historically it’s been very difficult for smaller charities to gain funding from the EU, and there are plenty of other competing interest vying for attention and funds.
So it was helpful to hear from the NCVO that the European Network for National Associations (ENNA) has been given funding from the European Commission for expanding the opportunities for joint work and exchange between community groups across Europe.
ENNA, of which the NCVO is a member, provides a collective voice for the voluntary sector within Europe, and the new funding should provide “major opportunities” to expand its work as the EU prepares its next budget.
This is good news.
Good news for the third sector generally, especially at a such a key time for Europe and for the role of the third sector in UK society.
But good news also for smaller charities, especially with the NCVO only recently recognising the difficulty for smaller charities in winning European funding.
And it is interesting, coming so soon after Sir Philip Etherington, the NCVO CEO, spoke out in favour of Europe, instisting that the answer for charities was “unquestionably reform of Europe, not walking away from it.”
So a stronger voice for the third sector must be yet another benefit for charities if the UK does remain in Europe.
Perhaps there are benefits to ‘speaking European’, after all…
Feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions: andrewkmackay[at]gmail.com or @BetterCharity