Everything started in 1994 with a road trip. A 2,500 km, all day and all night drive from northern Europe to Portugal to attend a conference on the transition from education to employment for persons with disabilities. The support services sector was not as structured back then at a European level, and cooperation between service providers throughout Europe had not been developed to its full potential. Our sector’s needs and objectives were growing and it was based on this understanding that various delegations began to talk about creating a European platform, after having only just recovered from the 30 hour drive!
In 1995, following a rather difficult meeting with a top European Commission representative, our Secretary General Luk Zelderloo asked the official why it was so difficult for them to understand what service providers wanted. They told him to “get organised and come back”!
After 10 years of hard work, EASPD opened up an office in the heart of Brussels in 2005 and welcomed members from the 47 Council of Europe member countries and the European Union. We became fully professionalised and Luk Zelderloo was appointed as Secretary General, a position he still holds today.
We believe that support services play a key role in enabling people to enjoy their human rights on an equal basis, beyond disability or any other factor. It is precisely this belief that guides our work in Brussels, Strasbourg and throughout Europe.
- The full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- The provision of high-quality, and user-centred services running in an accountable, efficient and effective way
- Fair working conditions and lifelong learning opportunities for staff employed in services.