COFACE took the initiative to co-organise a workshop with Eurocarers on the use of European Structural and Investment Funds to support family/informal carers. The workshop took place on 21st May in Brussels in the framework of the ESF Transnational Platform seminar, with participants from different countries and different backgrounds. The aims of the workshop were the following:
- Show concrete examples of how ESF can be used to support family carers in different ways.
- Give policy evidence and recommendations on the holistic and integrated recognition and support needed by both carers and persons in need of care.
- Discuss the type of partnerships necessary to develop and sustain quality and affordable services for family carers.
- Raise awareness of the support needed by family carers, who play a key role in our long-term care systems, to remain included in employment and in the society.
- Highlight gender aspects of family care: ensuring that care responsibilities are supported and valorised by enterprise and the community for both men and women.
Two ESF-funded projects were presented: one from Sweden (member of Eurocarers) on support to young carers, and one from Poland on developing a model for respite services for family carers of persons with disabilities. Key issues discussed included the need for recognition of family carers, the need for more information about support and services available, the fact that ESF projects often supports carers only if it leads to employment (which is problematic as not all of them will be in a position to work), the diversity of the profiles of carers (young, parents, older etc), the common needs and challenges of family carers (health, mental health, financial issues, isolation), the partnerships needed (integration between social and medical care, schools, carers associations, service providers), and finally caring as a gender issue.
In total 18 workshops were organized during this 2-day event. All information about the event is available here.
As a reminder, the 10 points of the European Charter for Family Carers (EN/FR) guides all COFACE work and advocacy to make the voice of family carers heard in EU debates, and is an excellent starting point for ESF Managing Authorities currently developing strategic frameworks for the 2021-2027 EU funds. Moreover, Eurocarers recently adopted a strategy identifying 10 core steps for building a carer-friendly environment.
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