New initiative will guide charities through EU funding changes as Brexit approaches

Civil Society Involvement will try to influence the creation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace the European Structural and Investment Funds programme in the UK

A new programme to help charities access European funding over the next two years and to replace funding after the UK leaves the European Union has been launched today.

The Civil Society Involvement programme was set up six months ago, but has now launched a website to help charities understand issues within the current European Structural and Investment Funds programme that are preventing them from accessing funding.

After the completion of Brexit – which will take place in March, with charities losing funding from EU sources at the end of December 2020 – the CSI will also try to influence the creation of a UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace the ESIF programme in the UK.

The charity Women’s Organisation is leading the CSI programme, with other partners involved including the Workers’ Educational Association and Citizens Advice Halton.

The CSI is also receiving money from the European Social Fund and will run until December 2020.

UK charities currently receive about £250m a year in EU funding, but few details have been released about how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will operate or the amounts of money available.

The new CSI website will offer EU funding guidance to charities, as well as contacts on the Growth Programme Board, which will help to shape the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Growth Programme Board monitors the ESIF across England, and the CSI programme has representatives on all of the board’s nine subcommittees, according to the CSI programme’s website.

Helen Millne, deputy chief executive of the Women’s Organisation, said: "We want to make sure that those working in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector are able to access European funds and make it work for their projects.

"There is still plenty of opportunity to access this pot of European money before the programme comes to an end in 2020. We would encourage anyone working within the third sector to engage with the CSI project, either by sharing your experiences with us to help shape future funds after Brexit, or by signing up to our newsletter to be kept in the loop about the remaining programme."

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