You may remember the Monty Python sketch from the Life of Brian where John Cleese asks what “the Romans have ever given us in return?”
This sketch always springs to mind when I hear people talk about EU-funding in Wales. As figures are hard to calculate and what we read in the papers is generally biased, I tend to reflect on my own experience when considering this question.
Europe Day 2017
I thought on Europe Day 2017, it would be good to share my experience of the EU and show my thanks for the positive changes I have seen over the years.
Recreation – In the village where I live, the nature reserve is an EU-funded initiative. Prior to this investment in my village, this was unused land and not very inspiring. We saw wild flowers, ducks, butterflies and a shark* there on the weekend.
Heritage – When my daughter and I go on days out in North Wales, I am surrounded by brilliant EU initiatives. Rhyl’s Foryd Harbour and Y Pont Ddraig, the tramline on Llandudno’s Great Orme, the re-developed promenade in Colwyn Bay with its water-sport centre and the café at the top of Snowdon to name a few.
Networks – The Gender Wage Watchers’ network and the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe (EPALE) are both funded by European investment and without these networks, it would be a lot harder for me to get my job done and meet like-minded people from other countries.
My job! – I have been with Chwarae Teg for six years now and have worked on two European-funded projects – Agile Nation and Agile Nation2. I have led the transnational work we have been involved in and have been able to promote the fantastic initiatives from Wales to many other countries.
Modern working practices – I have access to agile working because Chwarae Teg believes in modern working practices and the European Social Fund and WG financed Agile Nation2 project I work on permits this. Handy as a single working mum and one less thing to stress about each day.
Training – practically every training and free event I have been to over the last 6 years in my local area has been EU-funded. My CV would have an awful lot less on it if I had to pay for learning and development myself – even if the paperwork for free stuff can be a challenge at times.
So when I consider the question “what has EU funding ever done for me?”, I can answer hand on heart – quite a lot really.
Amy Kordiak, European Lead Agile Nation2
*Okay, so this was my four year-old’s active imagination