Active Involvement in the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD)
The National Federation plays an active role in developing a rights based agenda for people with disabilities at European level through its strong involvement in the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD).
The main objective of EASPD is to promote the equalisation of opportunities for people with disabilities through effective and high quality service systems. This objective is achieved through:
- Policy-influencing: offering service providers a voice in Europe
- Services to members: networking & exchange possibilities and updated information on EU policy and programmes
- Research and Development: as the basis for innovation and improvement of service provision
EASPD represents up to 8000 service provider organisations in 24 European countries. The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies is one of the founding members of EASPD and our Chief Executive, Brian O’Donnell was elected as President of EASPD for a 2-year period from 2006 to 2008. Brian is currently a member of the Board of Directors of EASPD.
Through our involvement in EASPD, we have been actively involved as a project partner in a number of EASPD led research projects:
Reducing Occupational Stress in Employment (ROSE) Project (2009 - )
ROSE is a Leonardo da Vinci funded project, whose primary objective is to develop a combined person and work directed stress management programme in order to improve the retention of staff working in intellectual disability services and mental health services.
The project is being carried out by nine different partner organisations across six European Union member states. The nine partners are: Waterford Institute of Technology, Department of Nursing (Lead Partner), EASPD; National Federation of Voluntary Bodies; Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London; RD Consult; Home Farm Trust; Pro Mente Steiermark GmbH; Associazione Scuola Viva and Fundatia Alpha Transilvana.
The project will provide data and information to support local services and European Commission initiatives on social inclusion, workplace support, policy harmonisation and mental health.
Current Work Activities
During 2009 the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies will compile a national profile of: service provision, principal legislation, funding structures, staffing profile, qualifications required by those working in intellectual disability services and mental health services in Ireland.
For further information on the National Federation involvement in the ROSE Project, please contact Jillian Sexton, Human Resource & Training and Development Co-Ordinator, National Federation of Voluntary Bodies.
International Conference - 15 Years after Salamanca: Inclusion - A School for All
Title: 15 Years after Salamanca: Inclusion - A School for All
Venue: Grand Hotel, Dublin, Ireland
Dates: November 12th – 13th 2009
Organised by EASPD’s Standing Committee on Education in Brussels with support from the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies in Ireland, European Commission, Directorate General for Education Training, Culture and Youth, the Council of Europe, and other important stakeholders.
The Salamanca Statement was developed 15 years ago. This statement is the outcome of the UNESCO Conference on Education for Persons with Disabilities in 1994 and is an important manifesto for inclusion as a way of achieving high quality education for all. After all these years, much has been achieved to move the educational policy and practice in a more inclusive direction. Nevertheless, we have a long way to go before reaching a society where equal opportunities are guaranteed for all. High quality education is not yet accessible for everyone. The conference will, therefore, explore ways to improve inclusion.
The Conference aims to:
- Create a new European Network of all those committed to inclusive education, providing examples of good practice.
- Offer guidance and active help to all parties interested in transforming mainstream schools into schools for all.
- Agree on a Dublin Statement and Action Plan.
Details of the conference are available here.
For further information please contact Mary Barrett, National Federation of Voluntary Bodies.
Conversion Project (2005 - 2008)
Funding for a pilot project to Develop and Test a Comprehensive Programme on Conversion From Segregated Settings to Inclusive Employment Services was secured by EASPD, under the Leonardo da Vinci programme, in 2005.
Partners in this project included: EASPD, Belgium; La Fédéderation Médico-Sociale des Vosges (FMS), France; European University College from Brussels (EHSAL), Belgium; National Federation of Voluntary Bodies, Ireland; The Polish Association (PAPMH), Poland; BAG:WfB, Germany. The project was based on the findings emerging from the previous LABOr project.
The specific aim of this project was to pilot a comprehensive training programme targeted at managers and front line staff in agencies wishing to convert from sheltered employment to employment on the open labour market of persons with disabilities.
The Conversion Final Conference was held in Strasbourg in September 2007. More information on the Conversion Project, including a copy of the training materials, is available on the EASPD - Employment for all - website.
LABOr Project (2002-2004)
LABOr was a project financed by the Leonardo programme of the European Union and run by EASPD and 16 other organisations throughout Europe. This project grew out of the need to bring together material on training and employment measures for people with intellectual disabilities and to improve the flow of this information throughout Europe. The project partners carried out interviews with the different stakeholders in their country. The scientific partners prepared a research review on good practice and have edited all survey materials before these were included the Knowledge Centre - www.start-labor.org.
The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies in partnership with CNEASTA and IASE hosted the closing conference of the LABOr Project "Learning from Best Practice in Training & Employment of People with Disabilities in Europe" in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th October 2004.
Papers and presentations from the conference are available on the LABOr website. A summary of the main findings of the LABOr project is available in a document entitled "From Disability to Ability - A Pathway to Equal Employment of People with Intellectual Disabilities".
Daphne Project (2002 - 2003)
Under the auspices of the Daphne Programme of the European Commission, EASPD was given the opportunity to develop and launch a Knowledge Centre for the "Prevention of and Response to Sexual Abuse of People with a Learning Disability www.stoppingabuse.org. It enables easy access, with the possibility of gaining information about the prevention of/and response to sexual abuse. It offers information about key issues and findings and creates the opportunity to exchange ideas and develop networks of advice and support. The outcomes from this project were highlighted in the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies Respect Symposium which was held in Killarney on 5th & 6th of November 2003.
EASPD, in co-operation with 10 European Partners, were also involved in a project “Safeguarding people with disabilities against sexual violence - with particular reference to the experiences and insights of families”. The outcomes from the project will be available in the Knowledge Centre - www.stoppingabuse.org. The final Daphne Conference was held in Brussels on 3rd March 2006.
Tolerance or Acceptance Project (2002 - 2003)
The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies was a co-partner in the European Tolerance or Acceptance Project that was set up in 2002 and successfully completed in March 2003. In total 9 European countries were involved in the research and 3 of the National Federation member organisations participated in this project: Daughters of Charity, Dublin; Brothers of Charity, Waterford and St. John of God Hospitaller Services, Kildare. The core aim of the project was to carry out research at the member state level, to establish the key aspects that promote inclusion of people with disabilities in the community.
Following the completion of this project, a Knowledge Centre was established, which guides visitors through models of good practice in relation to promoting the participation of people with disabilities in community activities - http://www.communityforall.eu. The Closing Conference Report "A Life Like Everybody Else" offers some recommendations for service providers, which will be helpful to member organisations in setting up community based living arrangements and promoting inclusion of people with disabilities.
For further information on EASPD Projects, please contact Brian O'Donnell.