In mid-April, German and Swedish project partners invited a number of social service providers from their region to participate in a five-day excursion to Italy in order to learn about a variety of projects fostering empowerment and social improvement and exchange with their counterparts. On April 16 and 17, the study group visited the village of Torre Pellice, located 60 km south-west of Torino. The second half of the trip took place in Firenze.
The projects, which allowed the group to gain an insight in their working methods are dealing with a multitude of topics. Some of these projects are trying to restore and supplement the capacity of individuals or families to meet special or ordinary needs of autistic children, elderly people affected by Alzheimer’s disease or fragile adults prone to drug abuse or victims to domestic violence. Others are striving to compensate for disadvantages resulting from residential area, migration background or former imprisonment.
The scope of solutions the group encountered, include financial resources for families or enterprises in order to create internships and jobs (crowdfunding/fundraising), awareness raising, training, psychological support or the creation and maintenance of spaces for social and creative interaction. Finally, the group learned more about another INTERREG project, called INNO-WISEs, similarly addressing social innovation on an entrepreneurial level. Another organisation that was met is Le Mat, which is a social cooperative that runs hotels as well as bed-and-breakfasts all over Europe.
To sum up this stimulating excursion, the participants evaluated the inspiring insights of the study visit as to whether they contain valuable experiences and innovative financial solutions or organizational forms to be considered for their own projects. The inspiring atmosphere has initiated a creative process which led to the creation of a SEMPRE poem, which you can find here.
Photos (c): Diakonisches Werk Schleswig-Holstein