• Our work

    Eurodiaconia links diaconal actors to examine social needs, develop ideas and influence policies impacting Poverty and Social Exclusion, Social and Health Care Services and the Future of Social Europe.

    Eurodiaconia also provides a platform for transnational networking and best practice sharing.  

     

  • Our vision

    As the leading network for diaconal work in Europe, we look to develop dialogue and partnership between members and influence and engage with the wider society.  We do this to enable inclusion, care and empowerment of the most vulnerable and excluded and ensure dignity for all.

     

  • Our goals

    We aim to see a positive social change in Europe through:

    Praxis, enabling membership engagement and partnerships

    Advocacy, creating a network of competence to impact policies at European and national level

    Identity and values, supporting the development of approaches and thinking on Diaconia in Europe today

     

Calendar Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Happy New Year!

10 January 2014

Starting a new year does not mean that we leave behind the many issues of the previous year - but it can give us an opportunity to approach them with a new vigour.  Next week the European Parliament will vote on a resolution to call on on the European Commission to adopt and implement a European strategy to combat homelessness.  This is not the first time that the parliament has asked for such a strategy but as yet the European Commission have not delivered on their request.  Eurodiaconia is working with colleagues in FEANTSA to ensure that the final resolutation reflects the experience of our members.  If you have contacts with MEP's please encourage them to vote in favour next week.  You can have more information from Clotilde in our office.  Next week will also see a major conference on Social Entrepreneurship with over 1000 actors in social business, entrepreneurship and not for profit services gathering together to see how to shape future policies to support social business.  I have been invited to speak about the ways in which social innovation can be developed to have an impact on poverty and exclusion and a number of our members will also be involved in the conference.

 Finally, most of us can't have failed to see in the media the various reporting on the issues of intra-EU mobility and statements from various member states of the impact of mobility on social protection systems.  This is an issue that Eurodiaconia has been working on for the past two years and there are already several innovative projects happening that seek to support mobile EU citizens access work and escape destitution.  This week we have been talking with partners about the possibility of developing a project to extend our work in this area.  If this is something you are interesting in please contact Catherine in the office.

A new year, some new projects, some old projects - but a renewed enthusiasm to fight for social justice and new possibilities for partnership.

have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
This Year!

19 December 2013

We are nearly at the end of the year and we are finalising the last few things before the Christmas break.  It has been an eventful year at Eurodiaconia with more members joining the network, more members involved in policy and praxis exchanges and ongoing recognition of our work from a wide variety of partners and external stakeholders.

At the same time it has been a challenging year.  The impact of a focus on economic  growth over societal well-being continues to grow and more and more people find themselves in situations of precarity.  The services our members provide are under increasing pressure to reduce costs while retaining quality and reach and over all the future cohesion of our societies is under threat.  We see increasingly negative rhetoric around migrant, mobile EU citizens and people who access social assistance with ‘burden’ and ‘taking advantage’ being used far too often and incorrectly.  By the end of 2014 we have seen more punitive approaches to people who are at risk of or experiencing poverty in the guise of ‘activation’ which does not help social cohesion either.

But I always end each year with hope because I know that our members are working hard all across Europe, from Armenia to Iceland,  to ensure that burdens are lifted, that cohesion is built, that punishment is reprieved and that dignity is restored.  They do that work and we share that work because of the hope that was born in a stable, in the Middle East, over 2000 years ago.  It is that hope that gives me hope that we will meet the challenges and contribute to the solutions that are needed.

Thank you for all your support and contribution to Eurodiaconia in 2013 and thank you to all our members for the hope you bring to people across Europe.

Have a merry Christmas and a hopeful New Year.

Heather

 
Welcome!

13 December 2013

This week we have been very happy to welcome Eurodiaconia's 43rd member!  The Free Churches Group from England and Wales has joined on behalf of 24 churches providing health care chaplaincy, prison support, community engagement projects, social services and educational support all over England and Wales.  The member churches also support a number of ecumenical organisations that are at the forefront of advocacy and praxis in the areas of poverty and migration in the UK.  I have had the pleasure of meeting many of the members of the Free Churches Group over the past year and I know that they are going to bring a huge amount of local, regional and national expertise to our network and it is great to formally welcome them into our constantly growing network.

This week I was also in Greece on behalf of Social Platform where we met in anticipation of welcoming the Greek Presidency of the European Union from January 2014.  The social situation in Greece is still very fragile and precarious and requires bold but people centred approaches that are developed in conjunction with civil society.  The Church of Greece has been at the forefront of the social solidarity being shown by people throughout Greece which makes me think about how we in Eurodiaconia can extend our notions of solidarity across our network.  How do we work across borders when needed and how do we support each other in tough times?  Something perhaps for us all to think about in the coming months as can be seen from statistics from Eurostat, for many of the countries in which our members work the need for social solidarity is greater than ever.

have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
Debating Technology

6 December 2013

This week was a bit quieter than last but still there is much happening. The highlight of the week was the lunch time debate we held on the subject of 'Active Ageing for the oldest in society: How can services and new technology contribute?'. We were honoured that Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP hosted this meeting for us in our offices and we were joined by representatives from many organisations working with older people or with new technologies. Members from Diakonie Hessen, Church City Mission Oslo and Slezska Diakonie presented the work they have been doing to support older people to age well. We heard about a study on the suitability of GPS systems to support people living with Alzheimer's and dementia, how regular sport activites in communities can contribute to the wellbeing of those with dementia and contact technologies designed to both reduce isolation and risk to older people.  

The debate was quite challenging, looking at who was leading the drive towards new technologies - older people, carers or entrepreneurs? We discussed the needs-driven approach and how older people can be effectively involved in the design and evaluation of assistive technologies. We were also joined by the European Commission to discuss how diaconia and others can be part of EU projects in this area and in particular the new Horizon 2020 research programme that will be launched shortly. A full report will be available soon.

Our network on Healthy Aging and Long Term Care will be continuing to look at this topic in the coming year.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 

 
The busiest week of the year!

This has been the busiest week of the year – but what a fantastic one! This editorial is longer than usual but it is worth reading to the end!

This week we had the Annual Convention of the European Platform Against Poverty and it was an opportunity to discuss both the strategies and actions that are needed to fight poverty and exclusion in Europe.  Gothenburg City Mission was able to present their project on supporting migrants and members from Hungary and Finland also participated.  We also ran a workshop at the convention on the link between debt and homelessness with Feantsa and our members from Kerk in Actie and the YMCA Social Work from Denmark presented their work on household overindebtedness.

Migration was the theme of the hearing we held in the European Parliament this week and in particular how social services assist the integration of migrants. Once again we gave the opportunity for members from Hungary, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway to share their perspectives in working with documented and undocumented migrants. Nadja Hirsch MEP hosted the seminar and commented that diaconal work is crucial in supporting migrants’ access the employment market.  Following the seminar we held the presentation ceremony for the 2013 Eurodiaconia Award and opened an exhibition that has been running in the parliament all this week, showcasing members work with migrants and launching our latest publication on migration and services.  We were pleased to welcome many friends of Eurodiaconia to the reception which was hosted by Cecilia Wikstrom MEP.

If this was not enough, we were also delighted to have a study visit from the Danish Diaconal Council this week who wanted to learn more about the social policies of the EU and how they could be engaged from a national level. They also discussed how to be more involved in Eurodiaconia. After three days they went home with lots of ideas and will now look at how to put it into action. We also welcomed a small group from the Church of Finland who were also on a study visit to Brussels and were particularly interested in communications and identity issues.

And for the last two days our Marginalisation and Exclusion network has been meeting in the Netherlands to look at different strategies and actions to support overindebted households.

Also, yesterday, final agreement was reached on the proposal for the a European Fund for the Most Deprived – often known as food aid. Eurodiaconia has been working on this legislation for the last 18 months and we are delighted that there is finally a new programme that can be used by members who run food banks or who want to provide other social inclusion measures for the most deprived in our communities. We will give information on how to access this fund in the coming weeks.

This week has really been an illustration on how we have been trying to put our members at the heart of all we do as Eurodiaconia and make the links between actions and policies.

And finally… many of you will know that we have been waiting to hear from the European Commission about our funding for the next four years and I am pleased to say that we found out this week that we have been successful! We are incredibly grateful to the PROGRESS programme of the European Commission for their continued support for Eurodiaconia and we will be finalising the details of the new grant agreement in the coming weeks. 

So, that was the busiest week of the year but an incredibly motivating and inspiring week that will lead us to a very strong future.

Have a good weekend!

Heather

 
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