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Conference Bursary Programme

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Conference Bursary Programme

The European Social Network is once again offering a bursary programme to cover the conference participation costs for a limited number of people using social services or with experience supporting the delivery of care or social services.

Interested? Please read the information below and submit an expression of interest form.
Applications will be decided on a rolling basis, so apply early. The deadline for expressions of interest will close on 30 April 2024.

About the Conference Bursary Programme

The European Social Network (ESN) supports the active involvement of people using social services in its activities and with it, in the development of social welfare policy and practice.

Who can apply?

Users of Social Services

The service user movement has brought important developments in social welfare planning and delivery and represents a shift in the way social service provision is shaped.

Person-centred services and co-production of services are important changes which place the people using social services at the forefront of service planning and delivery rather than merely being considered a ‘beneficiary’. It is therefore important that this shift is reflected in how we work as a network for social services in Europe by actively involving people using social services in ESN’s activities.

The European Social Services Conference 2024 bursary programme supports the participation of people using social services by giving them an opportunity to actively take part in high-level debates and discussions about social services issues, to learn from practices in other countries and to represent the voices of people using social services.

People involved in the delivery of social services

People working at the forefront of delivering social services should play an active role in the conversation surrounding the development of social care and services. Too often decisions are made through a top-down approach. The European Social Services Conference would like to support the participation of volunteers, advocates, and front-line professionals in these important discussions.


  • The bursary programme is available for a limited number of candidates who would otherwise not have the financial means to attend the Conference.
  • Candidates will be selected based on the strength and merits of their expression of interest form.
  • Candidates should have ‘lived experiences’ in areas such as service user advocacy, research, rights, best practice, service planning, social enterprise, etc.
  • Candidates who are currently beneficiaries of care will be prioritised.

The bursary programme covers return travel to Antwerp (up to €300 per candidate), accommodation (2 nights per candidate) and the delegate fee only. It does not cover any care costs or extra travel/transfer costs.

Extra funding to support candidates that need a support person to accompany them can be made available.

The conference is fully accessible and run in 5 languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German).

The bursary programme is financed by the European Social Network and the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).


Complete the expression of interest form and return it to by 30 April 2024.

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"The conference in Malmö was very useful for me. I had the chance to attend great sessions and learn a lot. It was very interesting to hear about artificial intelligence, which is both a great challenge and a very useful innovation for all of us. I really enjoyed the presentations on how digital technology can support the independent living of people with disabilities. Thank you, European Social Network, for this opportunity!"

“I did appreciate the conference very much. It gave a very comprehensive overview of so many interesting topics. I was deeply impressed to learn, how artificial intelligence will change our lives. I would like to say a warm Thank You to ESS for enabling my participation at this perfect conference.“


“My colleague and I went to the ESN conference in 2023. During the 3 days, we listened to many interesting people that talked about how technology can help people. We learnt different things, for example apps to help people with disabilities to plan their days, or how to have a job.”