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The Social Services Helpdesk on EU Funds project, funded by the European Social Fund+, has entered its final phase of implementation. Led by a partnership of 16 organizations/networks, the two-years project has gathered valuable insights into the needs and challenges faced by social services across the 27 Member States in utilizing EU funds, including the European Social Fund (ESF)+ and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Helpdesk platform, with enhanced accessibility features and available in all 24 official EU languages, functions as the central point of all the information collected and tools produced to facilitate social services’ access on EU Funds and supports Managing Authorities (MA’s) in financing quality interventions in this field.

Currently, these resources are accessible through the Helpdesk website:

Facilitation Toolkit

The Facilitation Toolkit, co-designed with experts and MA’s, offers solutions to social service providers and MAs through practical tools, such as templates, guiding questions and checklists, in seven key thematic areas: Project Application, Partnership and Horizontal Principles, Project Selection and Evaluation, Project Quality and Communication, Project Budget, Project Reporting, Monitoring, and Sustainability.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) serves as a comprehensive training program, simplifying European funding details for social services, particularly those with limited experience. It focuses on accessibility, utilization, and reporting processes related to ESF+, ERDF, and additional funding sources.

Booklet of Promising Practices

This Booklet: EU Funds for Social Services Promising Practices and Inspiring Examples, aims to enhance social services' proficiency in successfully applying for EU funding and using the funds to successfully implement projects. It also seeks to inspire MA’s by showcasing practices that foster the support of high-quality social inclusion projects. The booklet summarises and showcases real experiences in the field, supplemented by examples of successful projects, with feedback collected from six key areas, refined and presented through simplified advice, accompanied by practical examples.

Technical Guidance

The Technical Guidance, co-designed with social services and Ma’s, provides practical tools and steps to enhance the cross-sectoral effectiveness of ESF+ and ERDF utilisation, fostering social innovation. Additionally, it offers policy recommendations and advice for MA’s and social services within the fields of childcare and child poverty, disabilities, elderly care, homelessness and work integration.

As the Helpdesk project concludes its final phase, there is a shared anticipation that the groundwork laid will pave the way for enhancing social inclusion. The collaborative tools and resources provided by the Facilitation Toolkit, the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and the Booklet of Promising Practices together aim to guide and equip social services and MA’s with practical solutions, training programmes, and inspiring examples. 

Join us on April 16 2024 at the final conference in the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels, to actively engage with social services experts, EU policymakers, and beneficiaries, to discuss the enabling environment needed to foster social inclusion with EU funds. “The European Social Network became involved with the Helpdesk not only to support public social services access EU funding for social inclusion but also to highlight to EU authorities that social inclusion programmes are very specific in their nature and require a particular set of tools to help them access the right resources” -explained Alfonso Lara-Montero, CEO of the European Social Network.