Context

It is widely acknowledged that, nowadays, social services are facing significant difficulties, such as chronic underfunding, staff shortages and challenges in transitioning to community-based and person-centred forms of services.

The COVID-19 pandemic only heightened these problems, making it harder and more expensive to meet the increased needs in delivering social services. Receiving adequate funds and making sure that these are easily accessible and used to fund quality interventions in the field is critical to overcome these obstacles.

The EU-funded HELPDESK project will make sure to reach these objectives by creating building blocks for a Social Services Helpdesk. The proposed Helpdesk will have two main priorities:

1. to support social services in accessing and using EU funds (ESF+, ERDF and ReactEU in particular);

2. to help Managing Authorities use EU funds (ESF+, ERDF and ReactEU in particular) to finance quality interventions in the field of social services.

Aims

The HELPDESK Project will work towards three main objectives:

  • Promoting capacity building and awareness raising about ESF+, ERDF & React EU (and other relevant EU funds) about how such funds can better support effective social services interventions.
  • Facilitating and simplifying the use of and access to EU funds for social services.
  • Facilitating exchange and cooperation between Managing Authorities, social services, and the European Commission (EC) to ensure that funding priorities are based on an assessment of social needs and target effective evidence-based social services interventions.

Main target groups

  • European Commission
  • Managing Authorities
  • Social Services

Activities

The Helpdesk Project will implement four main activities:

  1. Evidence Collection: around the use of ESF+, ERDF (and other funds) in social services, promising practices, needs and challenges
  2. Knowledge Sharing: to build up capacity of Managing Authorities and Social Services across the EU, including relationship building between civil servants in these fields.
  3. Toolkit: which will facilitate access to ESF+, ERDF (and other funds) for social services and will support both Managing Authorities and social services.
  4. Guidance: to facilitate partnership between Managing Authorities and social services to help identify effective social services interventions. This will help to implement EU social policy, and assess how ESF+, ERDF (and other funds) can be used to fund such interventions.

Duration

May 2022 – April 2024

Partnerships

Contact

Kewan Mildred, Policy and Membership Development Officer, Kewan.Mildred@eurodiaconia.org