Material aid in the programme period Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021–2027
The material aid for the most deprived comes from the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). The aid is in the form of projects. The call for applications will be published in the EURA 2021 system of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The call for applications is intended for bodies governed by public law and for legal persons governed by private law. The Finnish Food Authority will not distribute the payment cards directly to beneficiaries.
During the programme period 2014–2020, the Finnish Food Authority managed the EU food aid for the most deprived from the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). In the programme period 2021–2027, this fund will be replaced by the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). The material aid distributed to the most deprived in Finland is part of the EU regional and structural policy programme Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021–2027. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will act as the programme managing authority. The Finnish Food Authority will act as the intermediate body in the material aid projects.
The project applicant needs a Suomi.fi mandate for transactions and the right to use the EURA 2021 system. The aim is to carry out the first call for applications in early 2023.
The actors selected for the projects will provide the beneficiaries with counselling and a payment card for purchasing food and basic commodities
The project actor must possess adequate financial and other prerequisites for carrying out the project and the competence required for achieving the objectives set out in the project plan. The actors selected for the projects will purchase the payment cards and coordinate the flanking measures, which may be related to guidance for healthy dietary habits, debt counselling, social welfare, employment and education services and activities of organisations. The beneficiary will use the EU co-financed payment card for purchasing food and basic commodities in grocery stores. Gambling, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are excluded from the shopping basket.
The flanking measures may include activities of the project actor or project partner or other projects carried out by the actors. For more information on ongoing projects financed by ESF+, visit https://rakennerahastot.fi/en/application-times (the information is in Finnish). The compensation for the costs of flanking measures can be provided on a percentage basis (flat rate). A total of 7% of the main project costs (payment cards) are accepted in percentage terms.
A project coordination group will steer the project selection and implementation process
The project coordination group is a cross-administrative expert group tasked with the strategic steering of the material aid projects and the monitoring, evaluation and support of the implementation process. The coordination group is also responsible for monitoring that the national and regional activities related to the material aid and project content will support and complement each other.
The project coordination group will determine the priorities for the calls for application during the programme period and such matters as the value of the payment cards.
Members of the project coordination group:
- Päivi Hämäläinen, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, chair of the project coordination group
- Henna Leppämäki, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, vice chair of the project coordination group
- Minna Talvitie, Finnish Food Authority
- Sirpa Raassina, ELY Centre for South Savo
- Niina Lamberg, ELY Centre for Häme
- Johanna Latvala, ELY Centre for Central Finland
- Verna Piirainen, ELY Centre for North Ostrobothnia
- Eveliina Viitanen, Finnish Food Authority, secretary of the project coordination group
Other experts will also be invited to be heard by the project coordination group as necessary. Additional members can be appointed to the project coordination group at a later stage.
Material aid ESF+