Why is this project necessary?

Our rationale is to address the issue how all sections of European society can engage effectively in policy making. Many EU citizens have disengaged from formal politics: voter turnout is falling, membership of political parties is declining, and there is a widespread sense of a loss of trust in government and politicians. There is however also a surge of grass-root, often single issue engagement in policy making, with people generally becoming more aware of public policy issues, especially related to economic growth.

These needs are expressed both at national and EU level When the UK government launched its concept of the Big Society it was predicated on the belief that it was necessary to transfer power from Central Government to local communities. The Office for Civil Society, works to translate the Big Society agenda into practical policies. A similar drive has taken place in France through the Contracts for Social Cohesion (CUCS) with programmes such as the Residents’ Participation Fund, through which small grants of up to 5000 euros are made available to community associations for development activities .At an EU level the main aims of the EU Cohesion Policy 2014 -2020 on community-led local development are to simplify and expand the use of CLLD as a development tool to encourage local communities to: develop integrated bottom-up approaches: build community capacity and stimulate innovation (including social innovation); promote community ownership by increasing participation within communities and build the sense of involvement and ownership ; assist multi-level governance by providing a route for local communities to fully take part in shaping the implementation of EU objectives.

With less public funding available for investment in regeneration, concerted action takes place to address the challenges and problems faced by communities across the EU. That will depend on characteristics, opportunities and threats that define each community and their capacity to respond to the subsequent challenges. When developed effectively, grass-root involvement in the regeneration process can remove the barriers to economic growth and provide the opportunities to tackle disadvantage, deprivation and dilapidation.

To address this project we will transfer a proven and recognized community consultation tool used in the UK effective in engaging with local communities and supporting them to develop solutions to the unique problems facing their community.

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