Europe has an investment gap in the social infrastructure of an estimated €150 billion a year for the next decade in the health, social care and support, education and affordable housing. In addition of growing demand, staff shortages and limited funding for innovation, there is a crucial need of a new breed of decision-makers who have the skills and confidence to secure financing from both public and private sources. The a4i project aims at bridging this gap.
The Alliance for Inclusive Investment in Social Care and Support (a4i) project was launched in February 2019. Funded by the Erasmus+ programme, the a4i project aims to build up the capacity of social services, private investors and public authorities to collaborate and to use private investment for projects in the field of social care and support.
In 2021, the a4i project will result in a programme both for academic settings and adult training between investors and social care providers, based on specific real-life piloting. The a4i training courses, together with the Knowledge Centre and MOOC, will contribute to enhancing the mutual understanding, trust and ability to work together in securing more sustainable and diversified funding for integrated, flexible and individualised services.
In order to inform the work, a report on the state of play in Europe will be available in June 2019, and European guidelines on quality investment principles by September 2019.
To tackle challenges, the a4i project was created to develop a neutral platform to improve the relevance of teaching content in the professional development of decision-makers. In a4i, Social Service Providers (SP), Private Investors (PI) and Higher Education Institutions (HEI) work together to create a new cross-sectoral teaching concept, based on integrated academic and adult training learning methods together with models and case examples of good practices. Therefore, thanks to this project, Social Services Providers and Private Investors can use common knowledge and tools to understand each other, communicate and collaborate more easily.
The project involves partners from Belgium, Czech Republic and Spain, as well as a partner from the Netherlands. The partners are:
In the long term, increasing investment into social care and support will help improve quality of life via access to quality services for beneficiaries, including older people, persons with disabilities, children, migrants, homeless people, etc. Furthermore, knowing when and how to use the private investment for social care & support providers can also help to free up limited resources for public authorities to fund where public investment is the right path.
Joanna Lane managing director, Health ClusterNet (email@example.com)