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Editorial from our President, "Next Goal: Connecting Together"

As spring sunshine and longer daylight hours spread across Europe now is an ideal opportunity to look around us and plan ahead. At EASPD we are beginning to think about our new strategic plan, for the period 2018-21. This a key role for the new board to undertake and we came together last week in Brussels to commence it.
We had the benefit of a substantial external evaluation of our existing strategy, 'Reaching Out' to refer to and the advice of a panel of experts who work outside of EASPD at a European level. We then worked with our staff team to begin to gather our ideas.
Our evaluators told us that we are "overall effective in voicing adequately the needs of grass root organisations", that we have "effective strategies to disseminate' (our) agenda" and through our staff team "a very good networking capacity, and open and proactive attitude which is highly appreciated by both internal and external stakeholders."
Our discussions suggested that while there is still more to do to reach out to other stakeholders, particularly the representatives of people with disabilities, and their family Carers, the next strategic emphasis should be on 'connecting together', contributing to a wider and deeper collaboration between stakeholders.
 Many stakeholders are united in so many aspirations: for an inclusive society, a social Europe where all people enjoy equal rights.
Our recent activity in Brussels is just the start of a consultation process that we want to see embrace all our 129 members and the wider community of 15000 organisations we represent. Please make sure you take the opportunities we shall offer you to get involved.

James Crowe
EASPD President