49.1. Short description
The project “Together for revitalisation” lasted for almost 15 months, encompassing more than 100 inhabitants of the Old Town of Plock. The project, funded mostly from EU funds, has been managed by the City Social Assistance Centre. As it has been underlined, it was a pilot project – one of 20 of this kind, implemented in the country.
The aim of the pilot project was to develop a general model to be implemented by other cities and communes. Plock could participate in the contest for funds, because it met the key prerequisite – since 2005, it has implemented its own revitalisation programme with some social partners.
49.2. Conceptions and ways of addressing users
The project was focused on inhabitants of the Old Town: the poor and marginalised due to low education levels, addiction, unemployment, crime, etc. Revitalisation was to include renovation of old buildings, squares and streets, but also “bringing back to life” the local community, who were often marginalised. The project encompassed 100 people, half of these aged 15-25 years.
The entire programme had a budget of more than 1.6 million zlotys, divided, more or less equally among the two partners selected by the City Social Assistance Centre on the basis of a contest: the Professional Development Institution and the Association “Innovation Centre for Information Society”. Within the framework of these funds, the Social Assistance Centre provided trainings on social competences and skills, including psychological education workshops and sexual education/family planning courses, as well as a community centre, where integration classes for the youth could be organised. The second partner – the Professional Development Institution – organised professional courses, while the ICIS was responsible for activities for the youth (sports, arts, photo, filmmaking and dancing), making of a film on the participants and painting of murals on old tenement buildings – some of these were designed by young people participating in the programme.
49.3. Internal organisation and modes of working
The City Social Assistance Centre in partnership with the Professional Development Institution and the Association “Innovation Centre for Information Society” has been implementing the programme “TOGETHER FOR REVITALISATION – pilot programme for social revitalisation of the Old Town of Plock”, co-financed by the European Social Fund. The main purpose of the project is social revitalisation of the Old Town in Plock by providing support to at least 100 persons threatened by social exclusion and engaging in activities to animate the local community.
The target group of the Project was defined as 100 persons threatened by social exclusion, living in the Old Town of Plock, beneficiaries of social assistance provided by the CSAC in Plock, at least 50 per cent of all participants were young people aged 15-25 years.
Within the framework of participation in the programme, various forms of activity have been planned, such as:
- social reintegration (workshop);
- social reintegration – animation (sports, film and dancing classes);
- social and professional reintegration (courses and trainings); and
- organisation and maintenance of the community centre;
The classes offered to the youth included sports, such as kickboxing, filmmaking, dancing, art, e.g. graffiti, and photography. Professional courses were also offered in areas such as artistic make-up, animation, flower arranging, cosmetology, haircutting, construction, engine-driven forklift truck driving, catering, cash register management and computer skills.
49.4. Interaction with the local welfare system
As a result of this project, several backyards have been renovated; small gardens have been established, with sandpits for the children, etc. The inhabitants themselves care about their new backyards and add some new features such as swings, flowerbeds, fencing, etc. Moreover, several participants found jobs after the professional courses that were organised in the project. Now the CSAC is searching for money to continue these activities.
Owing to the fact that the project was based on the partnership of three local institutions, it offered a wide choice of services, matching the needs of the inhabitants of areas that were most threatened by exclusion. The project leader was the CSAC, which is the major institution responsible for social assistance, implementing several projects financed from the EU funds. The joining of efforts of the CSAC and the Professional Development Institution allowed the project to provide participants with assistance and education as two complementary fields.
However, the most significant effects were of the ICIS association work, which introduced real changes in the community of the Old Town based on participation. Working together on the establishment of local green areas, the inhabitants started to feel responsible for the appearance of their community, they started to protect it actively and add new components to it (such as swings for the children, made by one of the inhabitants). The backyards, which were formerly uncared for, became the spaces in which children and adults could spend time and relax in much better conditions than before.