The FEAD (Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived) Network launch conference was held in Brussels on 2-3 June, with over 200 delegates, including representatives of EPA as well as its national members from Slovenia and Portugal. The network is aiming at not only supporting to deliver the programmes financed by decentralised FEAD, but also to build synergies to give leverage to the support provided, it is a new open membership community for people providing assistance to the most deprived in Europe.
Through the Network, those working to reduce the worst forms of poverty in European countries are able to share good practice and work together to develop new ideas. In addition to regular network meetings, the Network members stay in touch through an animated online community.
The event brought together members of the FEAD Network face-to-face for the first time, with the conference open to FEAD implementing partners, Managing Authorities and other EU and national level stakeholders.
The first event set the tone for future meetings of the Network, with an emphasis on interactive networking.
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, gave the opening address, in which she stressed the importance of breaking down barriers to funding and the benefits of learning from each other.
Delegates at the event took part in sessions which offered the opportunity for knowledge sharing. Over the two-day conference, Network members were able to take part in thematic workshops, ‘café style’ discussions and interactive panel discussions with experts.
A Network for the members, by the members
Members of the Network helped to direct the discussion topics by responding to an online survey earlier this year.
Popular topics highlighted by the survey led the focus for the thematic workshops and the ‘café-style’ discussions at the conference, and will also help to direct the discussions in the new online community and future network meetings.
The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) supports EU countries' actions to provide material assistance to the most deprived.
This includes food, clothing and other essential items for personal use, e.g. shoes, soap and shampoo.
Material assistance needs to go hand in hand with social inclusion measures, such as guidance and support to help people out of poverty.
National authorities may also support non-material assistance to the most deprived people, to help them integrate better into society.
How does the FEAD work?
The Commission approves the national programmes for 2014-2020, on the basis of which national authorities take the individual decisions leading to the delivery of the assistance through partner organisations (often non-governmental). A similar approach is already used for cohesion funds.
EU countries may choose what type of assistance (food or basic material assistance, or a combination of both) they wish to provide, depending on their own situation, and how the items are to be obtained and distributed.
National authorities can either purchase the food and goods themselves and supply them to partner organisations, or fund the organisations so that they can make the purchases themselves. Partner organisations which buy the food or goods themselves can either distribute them directly, or ask other partner organisations to help.
How are partner organisations selected?
The partner organisations are public bodies or non-governmental organisationsselected by national authorities on the basis of objective and transparent criteriadefined at national level.
How much money is available?
In real terms, over €3.8 billion are earmarked for the FEAD for the 2014-2020 period.
In addition, EU countries are to contribute at least 15% in national co-financing to their national programme.
How does the FEAD complement the European Social Fund (ESF)?
FEAD support will help people take their first steps out of poverty and social exclusion. The FEAD will help the most deprived people by addressing their most basic needs, which is a precondition for them to be able to get a job or follow a training course such as those supported by the ESF.
Find out more
You can check the Storify of the day including highlights on Twitter, and you can sign up to receive alerts from the FEAD Network.PowerPoints from the event speakers can be found in the online community group on Yammer. Sign up to access.
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