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From 1st to 4th October 2007 in hotel “Romance” on the beautiful black sea coast in the resort “Saint Saint Konstantine and Elena”, Varna took place
FORUM OF THE SERVICE PROVIDERS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES FROM BULGARIA UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF THE MAYOR OF VARNA MUNICIPALITY – Mr. KIRIL YORDANOV

The forum was organized by Agency for social development VISION with the support and partnership of Varna Municipality and the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities and with the participation of Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in Bulgaria.

The Forum in Varna was implemented in Bulgaria for the first time and was a part of the Social Programme 2007 of Varna Municipality and of the programme of the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities /EASPD/ in order to support the providers from EU new member states.

105 leaders of organizations- service providers for persons with disabilities from Bulgaria, employers and representatives of different organizations and institutions which are in relations with the problems of persons with disabilities have taken part in the forum.

In the forum took part Mr. Luk Zelderloo - Secretary General of the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities, Mr. Kiril Yordanov - Mayor of Varna Municipality, Mr. Borislav Gutsanov - Chairperson of Varna Municipality Council , deputies, municipal councillors , representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, of the Employment Agency , of the Agency for social assistance, of the Agency for persons with disabilities, of the Varna district administration, of the Varna Municipality, of the Sofia Municipality etc.

Congratulations were sent from Mrs. Ivanka Hristova - Deputy minister of labour and social policy, Mr. Mincho Koralski - Executive director of the Agency for persons with disabilities and Mr. Petar Kandilarov - Governer of Varna district.

The work of the forum was turned to : ensuring conditions for national and international partnership; building up networks and participations in European structures; raising up the capacity of service providers for persons with disabilities; improving the conditions for providing various and quality services for persons with disabilities; expanding the conditions for funding of service providers for persons with disabilities; ensuring conditions for giving permanent information about the process of development in the social field and the opportunities to support persons with disabilities in Bulgaria and EU; elaboration of the methods and instruments for service provision and exchange of models of good practices in Bulgaria and EU.

In the framework of the forum, the participants have had the opportunity to receive information and to exchange experience and different kind of views with experts from the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities, that supports the work of at about 8000 organizations from Europe, with the representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Varna Municipality, the Agency for social assistance, Agency for persons with disabilities and with leading service providers from Bulgaria.

The presentations of the Forum include the following themes: Policies, Structures and Regulations of the EU in the Social Affairs; Innovative Approaches in the Social Policy of Varna Municipality; Current State and Perspectives for the Development of Social services in Bulgaria; EU Budget Lines and Programmes; Operational Programmes Co-Funded by the European Social Fund in Bulgaria; European Organizations Of and For Persons with Disabilities; Funding of NGO Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities; Creating of Possibilities for National and International Partnership.

At the time of the forum the Grand VISION Prize 2006 was given to Mr Luk Zelderloo - Secretary General of EASPD for european contribution to the development of social policy in Bulgaria. Prize was given also to the European association of service providers for persons with disabilities / EASAPD / on the occasion of the 10 th Anniversary of Agency for social development VISION.

In the programme of the forum was included also special sea greeting and sea cruise; visits to social objects; exhibition of the artists from VISION ART etc. The 10 th anniversary of the organization-host –Agency for social development VISION was celebrated too. Agency VISION is the first Bulgarian organization - member of the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with disabilities.

At the end of the various four days programme and the carried out discussion the participants of the forum - representatives of 58 Bulgarian organizations- from the non-governmental sector, representatives of the public and private service providers, of the employers etc. were united round the idea for establishment of service providers network in Bulgaria.

Different suggestions were made like: building up and legal registration of an umbrella – organization from the participants of the forum ; building up an organization of non-governmental organizations and employers only; building up different kinds of organizations of different kinds of providers also as establishment of partnership in network without legal registration. Three working groups were set up in order to work on the mission, the structure and the action plan of the network., There was set up another working group of seven members, which will prepare the constituent documents for the next meeting.

Till then all participants will have the task to distribute the idea of the forum in order to involve new participants in the network, to inform the society, local and governmental authorities; to discuss different suggestions on the status, tasks, structure and future work of the network; the status, place and engagements of the different kind of members of the network; the management of the network etc.

The next meeting was set down time for April 2008.

The partnership and exchange of know - how in the network would be realized through the internet site www.easpdbg.com.

A List of the participants in the forum

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