High level of participation in National Forum & Exhibition — Varna 2017
Over 200 social service providers, managers, social service specialists from across the country, as well as members and partners of NASO took part in the National Forum & Exhibition on Social Services, Employment, Development which took place at Golden Sands Resort on 6-9 June. The forum was organized by the National Alliance for Social Responsibility, together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disability (EASPD), the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria and Varna Municipality.
The four-day programme of the forum attracted 18 participants from different European countries, which marked it as the largest European representatives’ participation event in the history of NASO National Social Services Forums. Active participants in the event were the representatives of EASPD, the Council of Europe, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Employment Agency, the Agency for Social Assistance, and Varna Municipality. Special guests of the forum were MLSP Deputy Ministers Rositsa Dimitrova and Ivaylo Ivanov, EASPD President James Crowe, and Dimitrios Nikolsky, an expert of the Committee of Experts on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the Council of Europe. Among the guests were Ophelia Kaneva, Chair of the State Agency for Child Protection, Stoyan Pasev, Varna District Governor, Kosta Bazitov, Deputy Mayor of Varna Municipality, Lidia Marinova, Deputy Chair of Varna City Council, and others.
On behalf of the Employment Agency, Angel Angelov, Deputy CEO of DG for Employment Services, was a guest participant in the event which was also attended by Nikolina Ivanova, Head of Social Services for Adults Department, Reneta Manolova, Head of Social Services for Children Department, Hristina Panteva, Expert-in- Chief of Social Services for Adults, and Georgi Terziyski, Head of Public Relations Department at the Agency for Social Assistance, a NASO long-standing partner.
Representatives of dozens of municipalities acting in their capacity as social service providers, managers and staff of social service structures, as well as NGOs representatives, were actively involved in the forum’s several-day programme. 22 presentations on topics concerning the social services development and disability employment were given and discussed. The MLSP reception hall was held within the forum for the second time, where providers, managers, and social service specialists put forward their suggestions and questions to the social minister's team involving MLSP Deputy Ministers Rositsa Dimitrova and Ivaylo Ivanov.
Besides the broad agenda containing best practices presentations, ideas for social services development, problems analysis and the state of play of the social sector, there were a meeting of NASO representations, a meeting of the NASO General Assembly, two meetings on various international projects involving NASO participation, a meeting of the NASO Board, and others. The forum went off in the spirit of partnership and collaboration, enabling various actors to unite behind shared ideas and proposals for the development of social services and the social sector. The NASO Annual Awards for contribution to the social development in Bulgaria were also given for another consecutive year.