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Examples from our Members

SEMPRE aims to develop the competences needed to modernise social services and stimulate social innovation and entrepreneurship to prevent further increases in regional disparities.

SEMPRE equips social service providers in rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region (Denmark, Estonia, Finland; Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden) with better tools for service innovation. These tools are based on the concepts of empowerment and end-user involvement, which mean that their purpose is to give people in rural areas a better say in their future and to strengthen their ability to get involved in social innovation processes. This 3-year project is funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020 of the ERDF.

SEMPRE promotes capacity building of social service providers such as welfare and public-sector organisations, NGOs and social enterprises in order to encourage and enable them to involve end users – especially those belonging to disadvantaged groups – in the development and delivery of social services.

To this end, the SEMPRE partners test empowerment approaches in the local context by initiating end-user driven micro projects and developing their entrepreneurial competences. The lessons learned in this process are compiled in an ‘Empowerment Handbook’ that will guide social service practitioners in the practical application of end-user involvement.

The Council of the Spanish province of Valladolid has a dedicated network on integrated services provided to persons with disabilities living in rural areas. This network is part of the social action plan of the Council and aims at promoting equal opportunities for people with disabilities. The network shares common values such as a person-centered approach to service delivery, participatory principles, social responsibility, quality of services and team work.

The network gathers all the services provided on that region for people with disabilities. Each service works with a network structure itself, conformed by people with disabilities and their families and professional service providers. Public institutions back up the network what adds institutional support for people with disabilities.

The network provides up to 16 services, 12 of which are addressed to people with intellectual disabilities and 4 to people with mental health problems.

The services provided for people with intellectual disabilities consist of:

- occupational workshops for people in working age (16 -65) and living in rural areas to improve their quality of life and to provide them with opportunities to integrate the labour market;

- day centers: day centers are also addressed at improving the quality of life of adults with disabilities;

- accommodation: personalised support in accommodation facilities such as help with hygiene tasks, social life, integration with the community to support their life and their family members.

The services provided for people with mental health problems consist of:

  • Pre occupational workshops addressed to people with mental health problems in working age helping their inclusion into the labour market.

The network is integrated by 10 municipalities, the Council of Valladolid and Fundacion INTRAS, Fundacion Personas and FEAFES Valladolid.

Fundacion INTRAS is member of EPR.

By improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable communities on the labour market, who mainly live in remote rural areas, Caritas International Belgium aims to promote multiculturalism in Kosovo.

Caritas International Belgium has been present since 1999 close to the rural Kosovar populations of North and South. Various socio-economic programs, focusing on food security, offer small farmers vocational training and micro credit in addition to technical and financial support to improve their daily lives and diversify their sources of income. These programs thus contribute to curbing the rural exodus and better living together of the different communities of Kosovo.

This project aims to encourage a more sustainable socio-economic environment in the agriculture sector and to promote rural tourism in the northern region of Kosovo. We are providing tailored support to small businesses in the region in northern Kosovo. This support targets micro-enterprises that have good prospects for generating income and creating employment in rural minority communities. This support, offered by our team, is technical, aimed at strengthening the professional capacities of individuals as well as associations. All communities in the region are concerned. As a result, we hope to connect citizens who share an economic interest, and thereby draw a line from the past.

A total of 4 agri-business packs were provided to 20 small businesses, particularly farmers' associations and farmers. We offer technical and professional training as well as managerial and organizational services to 200 farmers and associations. In order to encourage collaboration between the markets and between the beneficiaries, we will organize 4 multicultural regional visits.

De-institutiinalization of care of the psychiatric patients for a community-based care

In Serbia, the treatment of people with mental diseases and disabilities does not represent only a matter of health care and social welfare: it still represents a matter of human dignity. Serbia counts 5 big psychiatric hospitals, where more than 3.500 patients live in extremely poor conditions, far from their social and familiar contexts.

In such a framework, the commitment of organizations like Caritas is crucial, both for lobbying the change and for proposing alternative services to mental care. The keyword used by Caritas network in Serbia, since 2000, has been “de-institutionalization”. A complicated word to describe a complicated challenge: to pass from an institutionalized care of the psychiatric patients, to a community-based care.

In the last 10 years, Caritas has been working for promoting community-based care. Several projects funded by EU has been implemented (some still ongoing): Caritas has succeeded to influence the national legislation on mental health, social protection and rights of psychometric patients in Serbia as well as opening community-based care centres for people with psychiatric problems, creating networks of psychiatric users’ associations in the Balkan region and promoting social economy enterprises.

KVPS Tukena Ltd is a national service provider with it ´s roots in civil society. Tukena provides services all over Finland – in rural as well as urban areas. Tukena provides and develops housing and support services: housing services, daytime activities and job coaching, respite and short break services, supported / independent living services and personal assistant services. The vision of the organisation is to support the good life of persons with intellectual disabilities. This vision is setting up the goal to support people and families no matter where they live and what their support needs are. Local authorities are responsible for organising and financing the services. 

KVPS Tukena provides services in remote areas through local units and mobile staff. In the North of Finland, vast territories remain scarcely populated and distances between villages can be considerable. In general, persons with disabilities in rural areas have same entitlements for services as in urban areas, but the spectrum of available services is more limited.

The principles in service provision are the same in urban and rural areas. Services are person-centered, no matter if they are group solutions or independent. We are sharing common value based orientation which highlights person-centeredness, abilities and collaboration with social networks. In whole organisation we are ensuring the high level of skills and competence of the staff. Trainings and development activities are planned based on local needs. In this way we try to ensure the good quality of service no matter circumstances.

As KVPS Tukena is having services in many rural areas this also gives good opportunities for learning and sharing good practices.

Since 2016, the Spanish Red Cross implements the PULSA empleo initiative, which aims to help young people to get into their first job. In Spain, young people were particularly impacted by the economic crisis and still suffer from high levels of unemployment and lack of access to quality jobs.


The project is funded by the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and the European Social Fund (ESF). It is implemented in partnership with local and regional employers. It targets young people from 18 to 29 years old registered in the Youth Guarantee Spanish database.


PULSA empleo provides active support to employment through counselling and job matching. End users are involved in collaborative activities such as social, labour and skills diagnosis, professional guidance and intermediation with companies.


Particular attention is paid to young people facing poverty, racial discrimination, social exclusion, or disability. Financial assistance for transportation can be for instance covered by the Red Cross. The project also aims to help young people, especially women, to enable family conciliation.


Between 2016 and 2017, PULSA empleo brought together 7.462 young people and 1.992 companies throughout Spain. 53% of them have found a job thanks to the project.

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