The situation on the labour market has been one of the main problems encountered by the city authorities. Most activities, implemented by the labour market institution, are based on spending of EU funds for professional training and consulting for the unemployed. Unfortunately, many of the solutions introduced bring only temporary or no results. Training activities are organised in areas that often fail to match the skills or interests of the participants, as well as the market demands. Some attempts have been made to cooperate with employers to identify the skills they are searching for; however, this is not systemic cooperation.
A problem, which has been mentioned in many interviews, is the weak connection of the largest local employer – PKN Orlen Corporation – with the local labour market. The establishment of the corporation resulted in substantial inflow of external inhabitants, who are not interested in the future of Plock. According to one of the interviewees:
Thanks to construction of Petrochemia, it became a large city, and what happened? The entire Steelworks came to the city, mostly people, who could achieve nothing at home, who had no education or no skills or abilities. The local people feel no bond with each other, they are unable to unite or defend the local community. They do not treat Plock as their own.
Interview no. 2, Plock. Journalist of the local newspaper
In the context of significance of PKN Orlen for local development, the “Grant Fund for Plock” Foundation established by the corporation in cooperation with the City to support the local initiatives through grant contests is a positive development.
50.1. Short description
The “Grant Fund for Plock” is an initiative of the Municipal Office of Plock and two corporations operating locally – PKN ORLEN S.A. and Basell Orlen Polyolefins – established in 2003. Cooperation with two large founders is based on social business responsibility. The main objective of the Foundation is to work to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of Plock.
According to the Vice President of the City of Plock:
The ‘Grant Fund for Plock’ Foundation combines the potential of the public and private sector who have the enthusiasm and ideas to act on behalf of the local community. The scope of projects implemented owing to the grants has been very wide. The activity of the Foundation is all the more valuable as it allows for rewarding initiatives that are focused on such areas as culture, sports or education, as well as the difficult issues of social assistance or unemployment. Success of the Grant Fund depends on people who are willing to work, who act on behalf of the inhabitants of our city. We have learned many times we have many people like this in Plock. It should be kept in mind, too, that the initiative has been successful thanks to companies engaged in social issues – PKN Orlen and Basell Orlen Polyolefins. The Foundation is for people with ideas.
So far, five contests have been held; on 20 February 2013, another was announced, in which organisations could compete for grants of up to 25,000 zlotys; the total amount of funds is 300,000 zlotys. All organisations that have their headquarters or branches in Plock may apply. What is important is that all the projects must be focused on the city and its inhabitants. The projects may be related to various fields, including social and educational work, sports, and environmental protection. Every potential beneficiary may file an unlimited number of projects.
50.2. Conceptions and ways of addressing users
The Foundation announces cyclical contests for NGOs of Plock. According to the statute, it provides financial support for projects on behalf of: a) raising of the level of education of the inhabitants of Plock, b) counteracting social and economic exclusion of persons threatened by such exclusion, c) increasing public security, d) preservation of the historic heritage and development of culture and art, e) increasing the quality of social assistance, f) improvement of the condition of the natural environment and raising awareness of the inhabitants of Plock in this regard, g) increasing the attractiveness of Plock in terms of tourism, social relations and economy, h) popularisation of recreation and sports, i) supporting the economic community and undertakings aimed at economic growth of Plock, j) strengthening of European integration and international cooperation and j) acting on behalf of healthcare and promotion of healthcare.
The Foundation supports the organisation of workshops, training, lectures, seminars, exhibitions, reviews, trade fairs, concerts, meetings, contests, creation and operation of community centres, clubs, locations for meeting of local groups, publication of information materials, including audio-visual materials, archiving of knowledge, creation of databases and other innovative activities aimed to integrate and develop the local community.
50.3. Internal organisation and modes of working
The “Grant Fund for Plock” Foundation is an initiative of the Municipal Office of Plock, PKN ORLEN S.A. and Basell Orlen Polyolefins Sp. z o.o. and is a national-scale innovation. The initiative was undertaken within the framework of social business responsibility and care of the local government for development of the local NGOs.
The legal deed establishing the foundation was signed by representatives of the Founders – the Municipal Office, PKN ORLEN S.A. and Basell Orlen Polyolefins Sp. z o.o. – on 15 December 2005. The initial capital of the “Grant Fund for Plock” Foundation amounted to PLN 1 million. The city provided PLN 600,000, PKN ORLEN S.A. – 300,000, Basell Orlen Polyolefins Sp. z o.o. – 100,000. The Foundation took over the name and tasks of the Grant Fund for Plock. On 24 March 2006, the Foundation was granted legal standing and was entered in the National Court Register – Register of Associations, other Social and Professional Organisations and Public Healthcare Institutions.
Owing to the systematic support of their Founders, the Foundation has conducted five grant contests, supporting the NGOs of Plock in implementing 130 projects comprising in total more than PLN 1.7 million.
50.4. Interaction with the local welfare system
The history of the Foundation goes back to 14 October 2002, when representatives of the city authorities, PKN ORLEN S.A. and the United Nations signed the letter of intent concerning establishment of the “Forum for Plock”. The project was aimed at inclusion of local businesses and social organisations in cooperation with the local government on assessment and updating of the “Strategy for Development of the City of Plock until 2012”. For 6 months, almost 50 local organisations, representing businesses of Plock, NGOs, the inhabitants and the local government cooperated to create and define the development priorities for the city. The works were concluded in June 2003 by approval of the “Strategy for Sustainable Development of the City of Plock” and signing of the declaration for cooperation on behalf of achievement of objectives of the strategy.
Another innovative initiative, which emerged during the works of the Forum for Plock, was establishment of the Grant Fund for Plock in May 2003, on the initiative of the Municipal Office of Plock and PKN ORLEN S.A. The Fund was supposed to provide the financial basis for NGOs of Plock working to support the Strategy for Sustainable Development. The initial capital amounted to PLN 1.1 million – 500,000 provided by PKN ORLEN S.A. and 600,000 by the city. The project was supervised by UNDP. The role of UNDP was to facilitate communication between the private and the public sector. They also supervised the activity of the Fund and provided consulting. As the works were in progress, another business partner joined the project – Levi Strauss Poland. Thanks to financial support provided by all three entities, the Fund developed three editions of grant contests, in which 121 grants were awarded for the total amount of almost PLN 2.1 million.
After three editions of the contest, the UN decided that its role as the project administrator was over and the Fund was ready to be handed over to the local community. Therefore, the Founders (the city of Plock, PKN Orlen S.A) and the new partner – Basell Orlen Polyolefins Sp. z o.o. – and UNDP representatives worked to create a foundation that could take over the activities of the Grant Fund for Plock and support the development of the local community. Levi Strauss Poland withdrew as a Founder due to formal reasons.
Both companies engaged in activity of the Grant Fund for Plock have underlined that their support for this initiative is due to their willingness to support the local community, as well as the prestige associated with participation in such a unique project:
The Grant Fund for Plock Foundation is a unique example of a public-private partnership in Central and Eastern Europe. Participation in such an exceptional initiative allows the partners to support, plan and monitor the development of very significant projects on behalf of the inhabitants of Plock. Being a founder is not only prestigious, but also a responsibility, and active participation in projects is aimed at improvement of the living standards of the local community. I believe that the more people that are willing to cooperate, the more benefits there are in it for all beneficiaries.
Representative of PKN ORLEN
Basell Orlen Polyolefins Sp. z o.o. is a company of Plock, and apart from its business operation, it strives to support the development of the region in which it operates through participation in many social projects. One of these is the Grant Fund for Plock, which offers many opportunities in such fields as sports, culture, education and many others. The Fund is also a platform for exchange of information on opportunities in the region for many interesting initiatives. The Company assumes social and business responsibility for the affairs of Plock, as has been proven by our participation in the Fund, of which we are proud.
Representative of Basell Orlen Polyolefins Sp. z o.o.