Fesat European Foundation of Drug Helpines
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What is

  • is a network which currently joins together about 50 European drug helpline services
  • has a charter setting out the ethical principles to which all members of the Foundation adhere
  • has representatives from the Member States of the European Union on its Board ,who are experts in drug helpline work

SKEPDAH Partnership Kick-Off Meeting Lisbon

The SKEPDAH project officially started on January 1st. By now the partnership held it's Kick-Off meeting in beautiful Lisbon. Read more about what outlines for the project were agreed upon. 


SKEPDAH stands for Skills and Knowledge Exchange Project for Drug and Alcohol Helplines. It is a so-called KA2 Strategic Partnership under the Erasmus+ program running from January 2017 to August 2018. During this project eight Eight Drug and Alcohol Helplines involved in FESAT (representing Ireland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Portugal, Cyprus, Norway, The Netherlands and Germany) and a British training institute will have transnational meetings to exchange know-how and skills. The project focusses on three topics that are currently challenging Drug Helpline workers throughout Europe: helpline skills and risk of burn out; dealing with NPS (New Psychoactive Substances) and managing Dual Diagnoses at the Helpline. The meetings and exchanges will lead to curriculae on each of these topics that will hopefully inspire others beyond the project to integrate them in their lifelong learning activities.

A well prepared meeting 

After months of online contacts to get the project on the rails, the partnership meeting in Lisbon saw the first opportunity for the project partners to get to know each other in real life. A short introduction of each involved partner illustrated the wide variety in Drug Helpline work across Europe but also confirmed how much Drug Helplines have in common.
Prior to the meeting the learning needs and desired learning outcomes for the project were gathered via a set of online surveys developed by 3 project partners. These were aimed at both organisational level and individual learning needs related to the 3 topics on which the project focusses. Jo Bush of The Training Exchange Ltd. presented an impressive matrix of the result which will no doubt continu to provide essential input throughoput the project.
She also shared more information on the Learning Outcomes Approach based on the European Vocational Education approach and materials developed by Cedefop. This helped the partners to get a better idea of what learning outcomes can be and how this approach can be applied to the project. 


Getting the focus right

An extensive part of the kick-off meeting was devoted to working in small groups beginning to develop shared learning outcomes for the three topics bases on the input gathered via the online surveys. Afterwards this work was collated and condensed into a set of aims and objectifs for the topic-related transnational meetings ahead.

Even though SKEPDAH is all about the topics of helpline skils and burnout, NPS and Dual Diagnosis, running a project itselfs requires clear roles and tasks, a good timing and follow-up. Getting all of that sorted is in a way an additional learning opportunity itself. Coordination roles were distributed between the project partners, sharing responsabilities on the key aspects of Quality Assurance, Measuring Impacts, Sustainability, Accessibility, Evaluation, Dissemination, Financial follow-up and Project Coordination.

Planned project mile-stones

Apart from the distriution of their specific tasks for the project, the partners were also focused on creating schedules and agendas for the future Transnational Learning Exchange Meetings. As a result, this timeline was set out for the coming year and a half: 

  1. A first Transnational Learning Exchange Partner Meeting will be held on June 19th and 20th 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria. This meeting will focus on the topic "Helpline skills for new workers, experienced workers and burn-out prevention".
  2. The second Transnational Learning Exchange Partner Meeting is planned for September 25th and 26th 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany, at Basis e.V. The topic for that two-day meeting will be "New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and Helpline work".
  3. Next year will see a third Transnational Learning Exchange Partner Meeting on February 19th and 20th 2018 in Brussels, Belgium, at VAD-De DrugLijn. This meeting will address the final project topic "Dual Diagnosis and Helpline work". 
  4. As a round-up of SKEPDAH a Dessimination meeting is planned on June 18th and 19th in Larnaca, Cyprus, hosted by Perseas. At that meeting we plan to share what we have learned throughout the partnership and present the curriculae on all three topics as the final outcomes of the project.


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