The Helpdesk: Six months in – where are we now?
Six months have passed since the Helpdesk project, coordinated by EASPD and implemented with the help of 15 partners, officially started.
The main aim of the Helpdesk is to support social services to more easily access and better use EU funds and to help Managing Authorities use EU funds to finance quality interventions in the field of social services.
Now, the first activities have been implemented and the first results start to be visible.
In these first months of the project, we focused on evidence-gathering activities, which will be crucial to pave the way for the delivery of the future project’s outputs. The partners have developed two surveys, one for social services and one for managing authorities, to get better insight into the barriers and challenges which prevent EU funds from being used by social services. You can fill out the survey until Tuesday 15 November, and find more information here.
In addition to this, ten national events will be organised in ten different EU Member States (Belgium, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Spain) in the months of October and November. During these events,social services, Managing Authorities, EU representatives and intermediary bodies will be brought together to discuss barriers, challenges, but also good practices in relation to the access and use of EU funding.
Furthermore, to present the project to those interested, a launch event was organised in Brussels on the 20th of October. The European Commission, the project partners, an intermediary body and a managing authority met to discussthe potential of the project to fill the gaps when it comes to knowledge and capacity building, simplification of EU funds, and policy guidance. Some key points where the project can make a difference are:
- Capacity building of social services: Which EU funds do exist, how to access them, how to write a project application, and how to manage the project?
- Finding solutions to overcome the bureaucratic burden: which tools can make it easier to apply for EU funds and create an enabling environment, such as simplified cost options and application templates.
- Guide managing authorities and social services on the kind of projects which can be funded with EU funds, and which have the most social impact.
In the meantime, the Helpdesk is working on the creation of its website, which will be the main platform for all the projects outputs. The website will also have an integrated form (the Helpdesk) where social service providers will be able to ask questions and advice about accessing EU funding. Through this, the Helpdesk team aims to give tailored and relevant support to those seeking help. So, stay tuned, as the website should be up and running before the end of the year!