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.  

Through our involvement in EASPD, we have been actively involved as a project partner in a number of EASPD led research projects:

ENTELIS (European Network for Technology Enhanced Learning in an Inclusive Society) 2014

The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies is currently involved in a new European Project ENTELIS (European Network for Technology Enhanced Learning in an Inclusive Society). The aim of the project is to help bridge the digital divide in Europe and worldwide by promoting the acquisition of digital skills and abilities to make effective use of assistive technology, for the empowerment and independence of people with disabilities of all ages. 

The strategy is to create a sustainable network for knowledge exchange, and to support policies regarding both the development of disabled people's ability to make effective use of assistive technology, and the exploitation of ICT-AT in education to ensure equal opportunities. The network will share ideas and help overcome fragmentation in policies and practices, by gearing the efforts of many key actors and institutions towards common goals. 

In the course of the project, relevant information is being collected and will be made available to the network members. The network aims to have an impact at several levels, and will have the capacity to gear existing resources on an ‘as needs’ basis to impact future policy development. The ENTELIS project is funded by the European Commission within the Lifelong Learning Programme bringing together nine partners from across the European Union and one partner from the United States. 

Any organisation sharing the ENTELIS mission and vision - and willing to engage in the commitments involved - can apply to become Associate Partners of the ENTELIS network. The admission procedure is very simple,follow the link for more information: http://www.entelis.net/en/node/161

ENTELIS SEMINAR, DUBLIN CASTLE, Ireland, November 12th & 13th November, 2015.

The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies  as the local partner in the very exciting EU funded ENTELIS Project hosted a very successful Seminar over 2 days 2th & 13th November 2015 in Dublin.

The seminar was preceded by a Consortium meeting on Wednesday 11th November in the  Ashling Hotel, Dublin during which consortium members took the opportunity to update each other on their work on the project and evaluate overall progress on the Project. They also considered the State of the Art Report  and finalised the ENTELIS Manifesto. You can download a copy of the Manifesto here

A srong message contained in the State of the Art report is that in order to bridge the digital divide barriers have to be removed and people must be empowered. Education is the key whether this is in educating designers of products and services or most importantly educating and training people with disabilities in the use of available assistive technology more effectively.

On Thursday 12th November the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies hosted a very successful Seminar in the historic Dublin Castle. The Seminar had as its primary focus the role of Education in bridging the Digital Divide and it was organised in collaboration with our partners the National Disability Authority(IRE) who hosted a separate but related Conference on Universal Design in Education on the afternoon of the 12th and all day 13th November,2015.

The Entelis Seminar commenced with an address by Brian O’Donnell CEO of the National Federation who welcomed all the international delegates to Dublin and also expressed his delight to see so many Irish participants. Mr O’Donnell gave a brief outline of the purpose and objectives of the Seminar underlining its importance in identifying practical measures to bridge the digital divide.

He then introduced Dr. Maria Scherer to give the Seminar Ketnote address – “ Empwering Lives Through Technology – Issues that matter going forward.The keynote address was deliverd in a very professional and articulate way by maria and was much enjoyed by all in attendance

Dr Scherer was followed by an interesting pretation by Siobhan Long, Enable Ireland, on the role of technology in Education. Then came a practical demonstration by  self advocates from Saint John of God Community Services, Dublin on mow Assistive Technology is enabling them to live a life of their choosing. The audience were very taken with this happy presentation and were left in no doubt about the real benefits which Assistive Technology brings in the everyday lives of people with disabilities.

Other thought provoking presentations followed, first by Sunbeam House Services, Bray, County Wicklow on the “IPLANIT” applicatio’s role on making individual plans happen.

Then Sheeona Gorman who gave an outline of the IASSISTID Research and Training Programme in Assistive Technology.

Sabine Siemsen  gave a very interesting presentation on the role of Distance Education in bridging the Digital Divide and Sabine was followed by Tom Bieling who gave a fascinating insight on to Design for Social Innovation which is bringing enormous practical benefits to People with Disabilities Globally.

Proceedings concluded with a brief description by Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf of the State of the Art Report and the Entelis Manifesto both of which will be distributed throughout Europe and beyond and call for more attention to be paid to the Digital Divide and make recommendations for action at all levels.

Overall a very interesting and enjoyable few days in Dublin. It was a wonderful opportunity for us as hosts to welcome our friends and colleagues to Dublin.

I’m delighted with the very positive feedback which we have received by all who enjoyed Dublin and am happy to say that both the Seminar and Consortium Meeting have been very positively evaluated in the evaluation forms.


DELAROSE 2013 - 2015

The DELAROSE – Delivering E Learning Accreditation to Reduce Occupational Stress in Employment - Project builds on a previous online self-help programme called ROSE – Reducing Occupational Stress in Employment - for workers employed in the health and social care sectors in Europe. 

ROSE aims to help workers manage their own work related stress and to provide information and tools to workers and service managers to help them to create a less stressful working environment. The DELAROSE programme will further add to the programme content and will also provide an opportunity to learners to gain a qualification – ECVET / ECT credits – on completion of the programme. A pilot of the programme will commence in early 2015 and staff working within Federation member organisations will be invited to participate in the pilot programme. On completion of the Programme, which will be accredited by Waterford Institute of Technology – who are the lead Partners in the Project - participants will receive a ‘Certificate in the Management of Work Related Stress’. There will be no programme fee charged to learners who participate in the pilot programme. For further information on the pilot programme please contact Jillian Sexton – jillian.sexton@fedvol.ie 

The DELAROSE project is funded through the EU Lifelong Learning Programme and it commenced in November 2013. The Project will run for a 2-year period and on completion the finalised on-line programme will be formally launched. Further information about DELAROSE can be found at www.delarose-project.eu

AJuPID 2014-2016 

The AJuPID Project aims to improve access to justice for people with intellectual disabilities and hopes to achieve two main results:

1. In future, legal guardians will no longer make decisions for people with intellectual disabilities. Instead,
supporters will assist people with intellectual disabilities to make decisions on their own.

2. Judges and court staff will better understand the rights and needs of people with intellectual disabilities. During court cases, judges and court staff will better interact with people with intellectual disabilities.
In order to achieve this, the project aims to:

  • Train family members, friends and other people to better support people with intellectual disabilities when making decisions.

  •  Inform judges and court staff about people with intellectual disabilities and their rights and train legal guardians about the UNCRPD and the rights of people with disabilities.

The project will run over 2 years - April 2014-March 2016. For more information, the website address is: http://www.ajupid.eu/en/

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 explored: 

  • The creation of a new European Network of all those committed to inclusive education, providing examples of good practice.
  • Guidance and active help to all parties interested in transforming mainstream schools into schools for all would be provided
  • Dublin Statement and Action Plan were agreed

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 an intellectual 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.

Further Information

For further information on EASPD Projects, please contact Brian O'Donnell.

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