Social service providers and managing authorities in all EU Member States can now find tailored support and advice on how to access and use EU funds with the launch of the Social Services HelpDesk website, which went live on 23 February.
The European Social Network is one of 16 organisations taking part in this two-year project (2022-2024) funded by the European Commission which aims to make it easier for social services to access and use EU funds, particularly the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project also strives to ensure that managing authorities use these funds to finance quality interventions and innovation in the field of social services.
Developed in an accessible format and available in all 24 official EU languages, the website will be the central point for all the information collected and tools produced to help social services access EU Funds.
The website’s main feature is the online Helpdesk service, where social services will be able to submit questions concerning access and use of EU funding. The Helpdesk team will then provide tailored answers, helping to disentangle the complex landscape of European funding. Users will receive support to better understand the functioning and the process of applying for EU funding, and to find relevant organisations to create project partnerships or examples of good practice for developing a project.
A Resource Centre will include all materials produced by the project, such as a Toolkit on Facilitating ESF+ and ERDF for Social Services and a Guidance on Effective Interventions in Social Services. Moreover, users will be able to find information about the latest open calls launched by the European Commission, opportunities for trainings and networking, and – through the use of an interactive geographical map – specific information about the structure and management of EU funds in different EU Member States.
Looking forward, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), currently in development, will also be freely available on the website in all EU languages. It will provide training modules on the access to, use of, and reporting on the ESF+, ERDF, and other funding opportunities. The main aim is to thereby give a clear structure to, and simplify, information on European funding for social services.
Ultimately, the Helpdesk project can support social services and people who use them. As demand for social services increase, it is important to ensure that access to EU funding for them is improved.
Considering the complexity that sometimes act as a barrier to access EU funds, receiving adequate support and advice is therefore crucial.
Visit the Help Desk website here