16 November 2017

There were several issues brought up at the ENSS (European Network of Social Services) conference that the EU Affairs Office is involved in and to which we are keen contribute to. Not only does the EU Affairs team work on its primary priorities but also takes an interest in the wider issues of poverty, social Inclusion, migration.

The ENSS is recognising that the refugee/migration situation is moving beyond the emergency stage and into the integration stage. This has an effect on its present social service capacity but brings up issues relating to new opportunities as migrant needs differ to other socially vulnerable people, leading us to devise more migrant based services. The EU Affairs Office helps by identifying best practice from around Europe as well as potential EU funding opportunities.

The ENSS also recognises the need for the Army to develop its mission also to the needs of the ‘ageing’ population of Europe.  Andrew Wileman presented a very interesting and new TSA network that focuses on its ageing services around the world: the ‘International Older persons Collaboration Network’.

The EU Affairs Officer also proposed to the ENSS to consider if it felt there was value for the Salvation Army in Europe to consider and recognise that much of what they do throughout Europe actually contributes the European Sustainable Development Goals. Click here to read my reflections on this. That it would not require the Army to anything different other than to interpret that some of what we are doing could be measured for impact. This would aid in PR, funding and morale of staff and volunteers, especially the younger generation who are very much more aware of sustainable development issues.

The EU Affairs Office has linked Andrew up with both Eurodiaconia as they also recognise this as a serious issue for the church throughout Europe, as well as another organisation called ‘Age Platform EU’ an organisation dealing with the wider issues relating to an ageing Europe.

The EU Affairs team believe that both ageing and employment will be two of the most significant challenges to face Europe and the Salvation Army’s mission and ministry in the coming years. Increased mechanisation of industry, agriculture, even financial services and health care are increasingly dealt with by automation as first contact will mean reduced need for workers.

Another topic discussed by the ENSS was the future of the social services and the threats it faces including finance, Salvationist employees/Christian employees, The Salvation Army DNA etc.

The EU Office stated that the biggest single threat to The Salvation Army Social Services , is the health of the Salvation Army Church/Corps

Tags: Europe