It is a pleasure to bring greetings for a healthy and happy 2021. It may not be the easiest start to the year as we still grapple with COVID-19 pandemic but in any situation there is hope and as we start a new year I hope we can all see a glimpse of hope.
2021 will be a critical year in many ways. The reaction and recovery from the pandemic will need to be focused on ensuring social justice and equality. Too many people are experiencing social disadvantage because of the pandemic and we need our political leaders to step up their support. It is concerning to see many of our members having to call on governments to provide basic assistance such as meals for school pupils, better IT support for home-schooling, and extending housing support. Our social services are still struggling with ensuring good levels of staffing and staving off isolation and loneliness and not getting the financial support they need from available funds. The EU must step up its efforts to get funds to those who need them most and ensure that social services and social protection systems are reinforced and invested in. There is hope though as the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Fund does now identify social services as an area for investment as part of the recovery – let’s hope that member states pay attention to that. We will be working over the coming weeks, with our members and our partners, to ensure that this commitment on paper becomes a reality on the ground.
The start of a new year is also sometimes a time for changes. At the end of January, we will say goodbye to our friend and colleague, Antonio LaMantia, who has served the organisation and members for the past 6 years in our communications work. Antonio has been a dynamic presence at Eurodiaconia and is well known to our members for his commitment to our mission and ensuring that our members are at the forefront of our work, as well as ensuring we communicate our messages in a dynamic and impactful way. Antonio will move onto new adventures in his professional life and will be a loss to the organization but we also have the hope that he will remain committed to our shared values and our vision of a Europe of equality, participation, and social justice. We wish him all the best for the future.
Have a good weekend,