Dear Friends,
Last week some of our members gathered in Berlin to discuss experiences of different systems of financing social services. Starting with the changes introduced by new public procurement legislation (Directive 2014/24), alternative models of financing social services in place in some European countries were shared and discussed.

Part of the conversation focused on investing in quality staff for diaconal social services. Now more than ever the recruitment and retention of staff represent a challenge for a sector where the nature of jobs can be very demanding. Health and care workers are highly vulnerable to burnout and stress, and financial incentives are often not sufficient. During the discussion, I noticed the high flexibility of members in their presentations, their incredible capacity to find resources and to spend in an efficient way, while keeping their staff trained and enhanced. I had the chance to hear very similar issues in the Healthy Ageing and Long-term Care network meeting that we held in Torre Pellice (Italy) at the beginning of October: also there, while visiting facilities for patients with dementia I perceived the great strength of caregivers, in spite of the small size of diaconal services and the competition faced by financially stronger providers.

Although investing in social workers is becoming an increasing challenge, motivation and commitment to diaconal principles of serving the weakest and the humblest gives our members a unique added strength. Their faith in serving people and not only “users” dignifies the sick and the elderly, as I saw and heard from people who live this job as a mission.

It is for such values and motivations that Eurodiaconia needs to continue advocating for better social services in Europe building upon the experience of our members as providers of quality services.

Have a nice weekend,