Social innovation as municipal activity in Poland
Just to promote sustainable city development leaders of Lodz (city in the Central Poland - http://en.uml.lodz.pl/) co-finance activities of non-governmental organizations via Social Innovation Fund. NGO’s and informal groups with innovative ideas can count on extra financial support with projects, carried out for citizens of Lodz. This can be possible because of the initiative, which has been undertaken by UNDP (the United Nations Development Programme, http://undp.org.pl/eng/What-we-do/Social-economy2), the City of Lodz Office and Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations in Lodz. All these parties has set up Poland’s first Social Innovation Fund (SIF).
SIF is intended to be a long-standing programme. It supports innovative projects in such areas, as culture, education, participation or social assistance. Fund is also intended to empower inexperienced NGO’s and initiatives not exceeding the budget of PLN 50,000.00.
The Fund defines innovation as an innovative approach to a social problem that is both more effective, efficient and sustainable than existing solutions and whose impact goes beyond the specific focus group and embraces also local community.
Fund is composed in 60% of the city’s financial input, and in 40% of the means from private sector. Donations appropriated by the City of Lodz will in part come from auctions for NGO’s. UNDP supports the fund by collecting grants from private companies.
Donations for innovative projects will be awarded in two sequential contests. First contest will be organized by UNDP and the Federation, and the second one by the city of Lodz. Financial means obtained in the first contest will constitute organization’s own contribution in the second contest. This kind of offer is more likely to get financial support. Informal groups can participate in the first contest.
In 2013, the Fund awarded grants to non-governmental organizations that fight against social exclusion of children and young people under 25 years through their social activation. Out of 22 projects there are four organisations that acquired financing from the Fund for their innovative projects, namely:
- Association “Mocni w Duchu”(Strong in Spirit) runs a community centre “Anielsko” for children and teenagers derived from families affected by poverty or addiction. The community centre offers daily care, psychological support, social assistance, workshops and leisure activities for its pupils.
- Foundation “Słonie na balkonie” (Elephants on the balcony) was established to help children with mental health problems. The foundation wants to help little patients from the children's ward of Dr J. Babinski hospital by implementing their project “ZOŚka’s first steps” whose aim is to enable young patients to live and function properly after completion of hospitalization as well as to prevent the return of children to the hospital.
- Association of Culture and Art Makers Kaminica 56 (Stowarzyszenie Twórców Kultury i Sztuki Kamienica 56 ) was established in order to promote artists gathered around the Association and to help emerging young artists also trough the organization of workshops for children.
- Foundation for Psychosocial Support (Fundacja Wsparcia Psychospołecznego ) provides comprehensive counseling and therapeutic support for individuals and families in diverse difficult situations. The foundation offers psychological support as well as legal consultancy.
Stay tuned, more information on these activities will be presented in future posts at European Social Innovation Research blog.