Dr John Hobbs was invited to present the Foundation Interreg Europe project at the Spotlight on the Region, the annual ETC Network Conference, was co-hosted by the Southern Regional Assembly and Wexford County Council in collaboration with Celtic Routes project on Wednesday 8th March in Wexford County Hall, the first in person ETC Network event since 2019.

This event, which was delighted to welcome attendees from each county in the region, consisted of a panel discussion with Interreg National Contact Points and showcased projects undertaken in the Southern Region in the last programming period. The aim of this event was to reflect on and celebrate what we have achieved through Interreg projects during 2014-2020 programming period as well as to inspire attendees to continue to engage with Interreg programme funding going forward.

Participants were informed that Interreg is one of the key instruments of the European Union supporting cooperation across borders through project funding. Its aim is to jointly tackle common challenges and find shared solutions in fields such as health, environment, research, education, transport, sustainable energy and more.

According to keep.eu, since the year 2000, organisations in Ireland have participated in 856 Interreg projects, with the Southern Region of Ireland participating in 326 of those Interreg projects. That’s approximately 38% of Interreg project activity in Ireland since 2000 happening in the region.

During the 2014-2020 period the Southern Region participated in 123 Interreg Projects. The Interreg Europe FOUNDATION was selected as one of 11 projects to be showcased across Interreg Europe, Interreg North West Europe, Interreg Atlantic Area, Interreg Northern Periphery and Artic, Urbact and Interreg Ireland – Wales programme.

Dr Hobbs was delighted to be able to give an account of the Foundation project at the Spotlight on the Region Conference, “it was a great opportunity to share the journey of the Foundation project with interested Interreg project partners and policy makers from all across Ireland. The different elements of the project and how Foundation changed with the impact of Covid-19. The projects original focus was to assess and plan for the impact of one large firms’ closure in a region and put a framework in place for the steps to support those employees and suppliers who may be displaced by the closure. The project post the impact of Covid-19 started to focus on what we could control and where we could support our regions, local authorities and enterprises through sharing good practices on supporting business to stay open and re-open during the pandemic and the relaxation of public healthcare requirements.”

Dr Hobbs also used the opportunity to invite participants to attend the Final Dissemination event for Foundation in Rzeszow, Poland either face to face or online on the 15th of June 2023.