• 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 Monday, September 01, 2014
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Behind and beyond the rhetoric on migration

This week I had the opportunity to speak to the London Churches Refugee Network, who were interested to gain a wider perspective on aspects of migration across Europe. I was able to give a number of examples of projects from Eurodiaconia members working with migrants as well as give some insight into the question of free movement in the EU, a hot topic in the UK at the moment, although certainly not only in the UK. I also challenged listeners to be more vocal to counter negative rhetoric about migration by using the facts to debunk popular myths that we often hear for example about welfare tourism (for example data from the latest Commission report which gives evidence that EU mobile citizens are more likely to be in employment and do not use welfare benefits more intensively that the hosts nationals!)

I also challenged the network to build strong networks of cooperation across borders. I believe churches and diaconal organisations have a vital role to play as agents of inclusion and hospitality, and can promote social cohesion in increasingly diverse societies in Europe. But we also have a responsibility to “drive the spokes into the wheels of injustice” by advocating for the justice and fair treatment of all migrants.

Laura and Heather have been in Strasbourg this week at a Congress on social entrepreneurship. The event aimed to take stock of the Social Business Initiative as well as identify the future priorities for action and where the EU could add value and support the scaling-up of social entrepreneurship. Please contact Laura of Heather for more on this event…

Have a lovely weekend!

Catherine

 
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

 

 
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