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“Our financial support system can be considered a good practice in social work in Belgium, maybe even Europe”  

Meet Luc Kupers, Vice-Chair of EXELLO and Deputy General Manager of Ghent, his hometown in Belgium. Before taking on this role 2.5 years ago, Luc had been responsible for social services for almost 10 years. In his current role as a deputy manager, amongst his many duties Luc has overarching responsibility for networking and international cooperation.

Luc has worked with ESN since 2002 and currently acts as the vice-chair of Belgian member, EXELLO, an organisation that gathers general managers of cities and municipalities in Flanders to network and cooperate in support to local communities. “Since social services are key at local level, ESN membership was the logical choice for EXELLO”, explains Luc.

As the general manager, Luc is proud that social inclusion is one of the main topics guiding local policy of Gent. He tells us about a well-implemented support system of the federal state that provides additional financial aid for people in need. This has shown to be an effective support in getting people out of extreme poverty. The importance of this practice is mainly shown through the high concrete outcome in closing the poverty gap.

Dignity and respect are the core values promoted in this specific practice. Everyone has the right to a decent living, and this can be ensured by providing people in vulnerable positions with financial support to afford food, housing costs, education, and the means to raise their children.

We asked Luc how ESN has supported him and his organisation in learning from others, this was his answer:

"Throughout my journey with ESN that started in 2002, I have participated in every European Social Services Conference and been a member of the ESN Council since 2005. I have contributed, observed, listened to excellent stories of practices from across Europe, and I Invite fellow colleagues in social services to do the same".

Luc Kupers, Vice Chair of EXELLO and Deputy General Manager of the City of Gent.