European network receives more than £100,000 in grants to help charities share ideas

The European Network of National Civil Society Associations will enable British charities to build relationships with foreign counterparts, says NCVO's Oliver Henman

Oliver Henman
Oliver Henman

The European Network of National Civil Society Associations, the pan-European network of more than 20 national voluntary sector umbrella bodies, has received grants worth more than £100,000, which will help UK charities share ideas and build relationships with their counterparts.

Enna, which was set up by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations in 2009, has been awarded more than £85,000 from the European Union and £25,000 from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, a private, grant-making foundation based in Flint, Michigan.

Enna will use the money to organise conferences and other training and development opportunities for member organisations and their subsidiaries. It will use part of the funding for lobbying in Brussels, with the aim of widening access to EU funding streams for European charities.

The 23-strong network includes the National Federation of NGOs in Poland, the Association of NGOs in Norway, and the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey.

Oliver Henman, head of European and international at the NCVO, said Enna would help to match charities in different countries with shared goals to help them learn from each other.

"A lot of charity sectors in these countries are at different stages of development, and they’re very keen to learn from the expertise of members in the UK and other countries," he said. "For example, they might wish to find out about ways of improving their financial processes, membership and long-term sustainability, and could learn from UK expertise in advocacy."

Henman said that charities in the UK might wish to learn from sectors in countries such as Estonia, which has a strong record of online campaigning and fundraising. He said the network would try to form partnerships in Brussels to campaign for a better deal for European charities.

"The EU is reviewing its whole budget ahead of the start of the next financial period in 2014, and we could influence debates in ways that might be beneficial to our members," he said.

An additional £21,500 from the EU has been awarded to Enna to develop advice for voluntary sector organisations in Balkan states.

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