COVID-19: Solidarity in action – civil society work on the ground to support people in vulnerable situations

Welcome to our second special edition of the Social Compass dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this newsletter we bring to your attention a mosaic of various initiatives, activities and responses from our members’ national members on the ground, addressing a multitude of issues that people in vulnerable situation are facing during this crisis.

Of course, these are just a few examples and no single newsletter can provide a full picture of all the amazing, inspiring and important work civil society organisations are carrying out day in, day out to support the most vulnerable members of our societies, to care for people who are often underrepresented.

The national, regional and local members of Social Platform’s diverse membership are currently overwhelmed and overstretched as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but the articles included below give a flavour of what social organisations are dealing with on a daily basis to give each and every person in the European Uniondignity, support and hope. This vital work is often carried out on a voluntary basis, on top of their usual work and immediate family duties and commitments, and too often with little or no support from the national governments.

I sincerely hope you too will be inspired and full of admiration for the work being done by social civil society organisations, whether its reading aloud favourite fairy tale stories to older people on residential care, delivering food and medicine to refugees and asylum seekers stranded in overcrowded camps, or ensuring everyone can have access to safe public transport.

However, while civil society organisations are at the forefront of the responses to current social challenges, and major employers in the service sector are a watchdog ensuring checks and balances in any democratic society, the social dimension of Next Generation EU and the revised EU budget currently fail to ensure adequate support for a strong civil society.

As shown in this newsletter, we have a unique view of the challenges on the ground and the emerging social needs and trends. The budget cuts foreseen will put civil society organisations in the social sector and human rights organisations under intense pressure. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the essential function of civil society organisations to act as a watchdog is even more important, with regards to the impact of recovery measures on people’s rights, including access to essential quality services, anti-discrimination, living in dignity, protection of the environment and respect of the rule of law.

Let’s make sure the current crisis does not let civil society organisations suffocate and lead to an even bigger social crisis.

In solidarity,

Kelig Puyet, Director of social Platform