Convergence Programmes West Wales and the Valleys 2007-2013
Convergence, the successor to the Objective 1 programme, will run from 2007 to 2013, and covers the same geographical area as the existing West Wales & the Valleys programme with approximately the same total programme value of £1.4bn.
The programme has been designed with a much stronger emphasis on activities that promote sustainable jobs and growth in line with the EU Lisbon and Gothenburg agendas. The application process and delivery arrangements are geared towards reducing the headline number of projects to achieve more balanced delivery and focus on the core programme outputs of increased growth and jobs.
Convergence 'Operational Programmes'
Convergence is made up of two separate but complementary programmes, outlining the main 'priorities' for funding support:
The detail of each ERDF and ESF Priority is developed further in a number of Strategic Framework documents that outline a strategy for delivery of each theme of the programme. Fit with a Strategic Framework forms part of WEFO's project selection and prioritisation process. The Frameworks can be found here:
If you have a project idea you are advised to check first whether others have a similar idea by checking those ideas posted against each Framework to date:
Posting a Project idea
If you can't find your idea, you are advised to post it to the WEFO website so that others can contact you if they have an interest: https://wefo.wales.gov.uk/applyingforfunding/submitting/projectideas/form/?lang=en
Expression of interest
Once you are satisfied that you have consulted widely and responded to contact on your project idea form, you can proceed to request to submit an Expression of Interest to WEFO – please read the full detail on the WEFO website before proceeding:
The WEFO home page is regularly updated with lists of projects at Expression of Interest stage, and those that have already received approval. (Progress of 2007–2013 programmes) If WEFO accept the Expression of Interest, they will continue to work with you to develop the business case for the project.
WEFO will then make a decision based on the fit of the project with the strategic objectives of the Programmes and fit with other projects (full details on the WEFO website). There is no guarantee of approval at any stage. A further major change compared to Objective 1 is that whilst projects can and should be planned in partnership, most project delivery will need to be procured. Such opportunities will be advertised via the Sell2Wales website: https://www.sell2wales.co.uk/index.html
The rationale behind the role of project sponsors and procurement of delivery is explained in detail in the Sponsorship, Partnership, Procurement and Grants guidance: http://wefo.wales.gov.uk/applyingforfunding/submitting/guidance/sponsorship/?lang=en
The South West Spatial European Team is available to advise on the above, and more information on their role can be found in these pages. In Swansea, contact the City & County of Swansea European Team in the first instance, Tel: Paul Relf, European Officer on 01792 636858 (full contact details on the Swansea and Europe homepage).
WEFO also operate a helpline on 0845 010 3355.
WEFO Guidance on Third Sector Access to European Funding:
The latest news on Convergence developments relevant to Swansea from the Welsh European Funding Office and other organisations involved in delivering services funded through the Convergence 2007-2013 ESF and ERDF Programmes.
This section attempts to highlight Swansea's involvement in Convergence, from a small number of local, strategically important projects, to services provided as part of Convergence-wide schemes.
Most Convergence project delivery will be procured through competitive tendering. Weblinks to Convergence-specific tendering opportunities and notices of tendering opportunities will be posted here as we become aware of them.
Official WEFO Structural Funds Guidance covering a comprehensive range of topics including eligibility, publicity and state aid issues.
SETs provide free support, information and advice to anyone in Wales seeking to benefit from the European Structural Funds.
At the Lisbon summit in March 2000, European Union leaders set out a new strategy, based on a consensus among Member States, to modernize Europe. This became known as the "Lisbon Strategy" for growth and jobs.
Environmental sustainability remains a major cross-cutting theme for 2007-2013. The Gothenburg Agenda, now called the EU's Sustainable Development Strategy sets out the European level vision for implementation sustainable development principles across the EU member states.
The Wales Spatial Plan - People, Places, Futures - was originally adopted by the National Assembly for Wales in November 2004. The document was updated during 2008 and brings the Wales Spatial Plan into line with One Wales, and gives status to the Area work which has developed since 2004.