The third sector in Birmingham and the West Midlands could be missing out on millions of pounds of European cash!

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The third sector in Birmingham and the West Midlands could be missing out on millions of pounds of European cash!

Multi-billion pound pots of EU funding are available through mechanisms such as the European Social Fund but are West Midlands charities making the most of what’s potentially available to them? 

Free ‘Writing Better Bids’ training is being held to help third sector organisations in Birmingham and the West Midlands access EU cash for their projects.

St Paul’s Community Trust in Balsall Heath is hosting two of the half-day courses on the 23rd and 24th February 2011. The sessions are being run by the West Midlands European Network (WMEN), an organisation that provides a support service to third sector bodies who want to access European grants.

WMEN runs numerous free workshops of the kind being held in Balsall Heath, with more planned for Coventry, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury in the coming months. It also advertises telephone and email support for those bidding for, or managing, funding and free bespoke training.

EU money could become increasingly important to charities in the region as UK government funding for the work of the voluntary sector is cut.

For example, the European Social Fund (ESF) alone is set to invest £5billion between 2007 and 2013 to boost employment across the EU by giving unemployed and disadvantaged people the training and support they need to enter jobs.

“By focusing on those most in need of help the ESF aims to contribute to policies to reduce inequality and build a fairer society…and equip the workforce with the skills needed by business in a competitive global economy.”

West Midlands European Network

Each region has an allocation of ESF money to fund projects based upon regional (un)employment and the numbers without good qualifications.

The bid writing courses by WMEN set out to help charity workers hoping to access the ESF to understand what is required when putting funding proposals together, what information should be included in applications and how it can all be evidenced to EU standards.

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