#WeAreEssentialServices - European campaign to emphasize the needs of social sector

Budapest Methodological Centre of Social Policy joined into a European campaign which raise attention the importance of social service providers. We’re asking workers in the sector to join to the campaign and demonstrate together: we are essential services.

According to the Central Statistical Office’s data, 162.500 people worked in social services in Hungary in March, 2020. Number of service providers was the highest in 2005 in the past 10 years, this number decreased by 64.000 (!) for today. During the same period the number of clients remained the same in institutional care or even increased in case of family- and child care services. Therefore the figures confirm what we feel: number of workers is getting less and less while those number doesn’t decrease who are in need.

Across Europe millions of social services, like yours, work in their communities every day to provide vital support to those who are in need including: elderlies, people with disabilities, homeless people, people in or at risk of poverty, those with abusive partners or family members, vulnerable children and young people, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as people with addictions.

These services play a key role in empowering all those living in Europe to take an active part in their communities, fully enjoy their human rights and participate in society on an equal basis to others. In short, social services are essential services.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, support service providers have reacted quickly to be able to continue to deliver support to their users and clients, ensuring that those who may be more vulnerable and their families are not left behind in this pandemic.

Despite the essential nature of social services and the crucial role they play in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union’s response to COVID-19 has yet to address their needs.

Here at the BMSZKI the professional innovation and improvement of services were implemented only from funds from the EU. The EU has been our partner in the last 15 years in:

  • supporting labour market integration of homeless people (we’ve opened the first Job Centre in 2005)
  • training those homeless people with low or without adequate education (hundreds of homeless people obtained necessary education),
  • providing supported housing for homeless people and refugees to establish their own housing,
  • providing meals for those in need (more than 40.000 meal in every year, mainly for rough sleepers),
  • supporting trainings for our social workers in order to improve their knowledge and skills (nearly 150 of our team members participated in study tours, workshops, conferences and international training programmes throughout Europe).

In the area of professional development, support of minorities, defending the rights of excluded people, training of professionals the social sector could stand on significant EU-funding so far. We’re deeply concerned the European Community will effectively answer into our needs emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic! That’s why this campaign is important for us in which the social sector workers can present their needs towards the EU decision makers. The campaign was launched by the European Social Network, the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities and by FEANTSA – a European umbrella organisation aiming to end homelessness.

In particular services need:

  1. Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & Testing for staff and users
  2. Sufficient Staffing in social services
  3. Access to funding to cover the costs of adaptations needed to keep service user and staff safe and ensure to keep the services running

As support service providers you are the best people to tell the EU about the specific needs of your service during this pandemic. For this reason we would like you to join us in our social media campaign to call on EU leaders to better support social service providers in COVID-19. This campaign will serve as a platform to showcase the essential work your service performs and your needs in responding to COVID-19, and to raise your voice to reach EU leaders.

We’d also like to invite you to join us and other support service providers from across Europe for our online summit,Social Services & COVID-19: what role for EU? on 25th June 10h00-12h00 CEST. During the two hour event we will bring together grassroots social workers facing COVID-19 in their services and representatives of the European Union to identify how Europe can support social service provision in the months and years to come.

Here’s what you can do - A guide to the social media campaign:

  • Take a picture of yourself in your place of work. Using the enclosed social media frames, post this picture on Facebook or Twitter in a post that includes either/both of the hashtags #IAmAnEssentialWorker #WeAreEssentialServices. Be sure to tag us (the European Network that you are a member of) and the EU leaders suggested below.
    • In this post include a reference to the service you provide, the people that you support and any key challenges you have faced in continuing to deliver the support that you provide.
    • In particular we encourage you to mention 1 of the following challenges as it applies to your service:
      • Access to PPE & Testing for staff and users
      • Sufficient Staffing in social services
      • Access to funding to cover the costs of adaptations needed to keep service user and staff safe and ensure to keep the services running
    • Please encourage your staff and members to share their own picture and share and retweet these posts!
  • To continue to show your solidarity with the sector we also encourage you to use our frame on your social media profile pictures.

Suggested posts:

“#IAmAnEssentialWorker I work with Name of Service to provide service provided for people experiencing / people with population supported. Since the beginning of Covid-19 we have struggled to get hold of PPE necessary to protecting our staff and continuing our service.”

“#WeAreAnEssentialService At Name of Service we provide essential support to people experiencing / people with population supported. Since the Covid-19 outbreak we have had to adapt our service to protect service users and staff. We need financial support so we can cover this extra cost.”

Tip: Save space in your tweet and tag the photo instead!

Who to tag in your photos:


European Commission:





4th June: Launch of the campaign

25th June: Online Summit: Social Services & COVID-19: what role for EU?