The latest FEAD Network meeting in Brussels on 19th June featured a panel discussion and several case studies that best displayed the use of adopting a ‘whole person approach’ in FEAD supporting activities.
Project leaders from Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and Sweden gave an insight to the practises used on projects that adopt the ‘whole person approach’. It is an approach which advocates integrated support activities around a beneficiary, understanding that there are often underlying causes to problems that can hinder support if not recognised.
Bulgaria's project, presented by Bozhidar Sandev, focused on ‘Combining food distribution with counselling and information provision.’ This project in particular was in partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross in regards to food assistance.
France displayed ‘How to provide assistance through a specialised solidarity centre and support service.’ Presented by Sébastien Thollot, he stated ‘the main goal is to lead people to be actor of their life and to find solutions through different forms of solidarity’.
From Hungary, Agnes Keresztury discussed her project ‘Accompanying measures to address mental health issues and drug and alcohol addiction’. The project offers a mix of day and night shelters, with social workers stationed at shelters to direct them to programmes with a goal to provide 9000 hours of support a week across 23 sites over three years.
Ivana Stefancikova and Monika Pribelová from Slovakia showed delegates how to ‘Link FEAD end recipients to social workers’, with the project showcasing a high success rate of returning beneficiaries when providing information leaflets with food delivery.
Slovenia’s Klara Debeljak displayed ‘Supporting the social inclusion of material-aid recipients and people in need’, delivered by the Slovenian Red Cross. The aim is to deliver food aid but also to support beneficiaries in other ways where needed, such as filling in social and crafts skills gaps. In 2016 there were 11,000 recipients of food aid in the area the project covers.
Finally from Sweden, Frederik Schiren presented ‘Digniti Omnia’ highlighting the need to offer a holistic approach to people’s needs, this can even cover basic digital skills: 'We use YouTube to show people how to get an email account’.
The meeting was opened by Loris Di Pietrantonio, Head of the ESF and FEAD: Policy & Legislation Unit at the European Commission. This was then followed by a panel discussion on the whole person approach from Frederik Spinnewijn of FEANTSA, Marcus Herz from Malmö University, Sweden and Michal Krupka from the Social Welfare Centre in Poland.