In our project we are going to open 2 neighbourhood clubs in Toruń and Bydgoszcz. Our main challenge and aim is integration of migrants (citizens of no European Union) with local community. These places are open for everyone, who would like to organize cultural events (like music shows, training for children, common cooking Ukrainian dishes etc) and make this place like a source of grassroots movement for creating local democracy. Neighbourhood clubs are open for adults, kids and youth.
Toruń (Bydgoskie Przedmieście estate), Bydgoszcz (Bocianowo estate) in Kuyavian-Pomeranian. Poland
Bydgoskie Przedmieście and Bocianowo are estates with very large social polarities. The revitalization of these areas adopted by the local government concerns infrastructure rather than strengthening social capital. There are many social housing exist , and crime is one of the largest in cities. In addition, the beautiful old architecture of these estates encourages many people to settle in these places, which largely contributes to the negation of the presence of people who have lived in these estates for years (polarization: rich - poor, old – new, Ukrainian people – we as a Polish people). Mostly local governments has activities addressed only to such excluded groups like: elderly people, the poor or disabled people - there is no offer addressed to migrants.
Our initiative is based on co-creating a place of social integration by people who will be able to use these places. We resist to assumed social activations - our club will be created by people who use it. We want all inhabitants of the region, including migrants, to be involved in the process of building civil society. Foreigners are excluded from self-government support activities and cannot submit ideas to the civic budget. Due to involving people in the interest of common challenge and finding solution can help create strong social bond and civil communities. Next to local dimension, intercultural integration is a very important issue for us. We create places that will be open based on ideas, opinions, without affecting the status of the society or the origin of the animators.
In our project we are focusing on integrating migrants with neighbours - on including migrants in local communities as active and equal residents. Our task is to build bridges between groups, which for various reasons are distant from each. We would like to do this by building “three bridges”:
1) culture and community (activities for children who has problem to make friendship in polish school and activities for adults who don’t know culture )
2) local leaders (activities for creating local leaders from migrants environment)
3) we are living here – local democracy and civic activity (activities with trainers about impact for local government)
In these cities live around 15 000 k. people, most of them are stay in Poland for long term resident card but they are not invisible here.
Our animators will work in each of the neighborhood clubs, which will have the task to involve various social groups in the work for the club. The program of the clubs will be agreed on a regular basis with people who will be use it. Permanent elements are: compensatory classes for children, child psychologist, workshops. We work with over 1000 migrants from the voivodship (including people with refugee status), whom we support in the field of job search, language learning, adaptation and integration. The people we will support have been involved in creating the club from the beginning: from diagnosis, to ideas on how our clubs should function, to adopt the role of animator.We reach people through networking, other social organizations and through the implementation of neighborhood meeting
The expected results of the project are the creation of two neighborhood clubs which will operate on the principle of social involvement of the local community. We expect each club to benefit at least 10 people per week. Currently, animators are involved in the creation of clubs, but ultimately their role will be limited to creating a club schedule and ensuring the safety of those who stay there. People who receive support from our specialists (from teachers, psychologists, vocational counselors, animators) will assume the role of local community leaders and will be directly involved in working for the club. Thanks to the presence of our organizations in various types of local government bodies, we have been able to integrate migrants into social life like polish citizens.
The idea of establishing neighborhood clubs is rooted in the very idea of democracy. We assume that it is only when representatives of various social groups have the right tools at their disposal to speak of democratic structures. Our initiative does not affect shaping the law, but sets very good standards in the processes of social and intercultural integration. Strengthening the presence of representatives of different nations in the local community will strengthen democracy in Europe. Sharp social, economic and cultural borders weaken democracy - our initiative aims to blur these borders. In addition, launching clubs is an important step in capturing migrants as recipients of activities organized by local governments.
Most of the foundation's activities have been focused on providing support to people who have found themselves in a difficult life situation, mainly migrants. From the beginning, neighborhood clubs assume social involvement of people who at the same time will use and create clubs. The integration function for people from different countries is very important to us - Poland is a very homogeneous country when it comes to the nationality of its inhabitants, which influences the formation of aggressive attitudes towards migrants. In our project people representing different cultures will be able to meet and build something together. An important aspect for us is the recognition of migrants as full citizens who can make key decisions for the region in which they live.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Costs related to the organization of two neighborhood clubs from November 2020 to December 2021 to 50 000 EUR.
Our budget from CIVIC EUROPE:
Personnel costs (salary of animators, pscyhologist, teachers, trainers, PR manager) – 16 000 EUR
Training materials for Torun 4000 EUR
Training materials for Bydgoszcz 4000 EUR
Room rental (Torun and Bydgoszcz) 4000 EUR
Office expenses (Torun and Bydgoszcz) 2 000 EUR
Public relations 1500 EUR
We would like to get know how similar places created other organizations in Europe: where they started, what was easy, what was a challenge, what to look for when organizing a club. We are happy to know how other NGOs involving the local multicultural community in their activities.