For many years, the idea of a space in the centre of the city has been developing in Idrija. There various issues such as social cohesion, social exclusion and a sense of social belonging could be addressed. The city has a youth centre, an intergenerational centre in a retirement home and many non-governmental organizations, each pursuing its own goals. None of this enables the inclusion of all residents at all times, as the youth centre is intended for young people, the intergenerational centre operates according to the concept of renting the space and is closely connected to the retirement home.
In 2018, they got to know the platform of non-governmental organizations in the German city of Altena and recognized it as a good practice to transfer to their city. Over the past two years, they have gained experience and developed their platform within the European URBACT program, and they have upgraded with a physical City Living Room, thus shaping their good practice. The NGO platform is managed by the organizations, initiatives and groups involved. Activities organized by associations, institutes and individuals take place in the City Living Room. Activities are available to all residents free of charge. At a time when there are no organized activities, the space is intended for socializing. The space is furnished like a real living room. The city library has provided some books and magazines, board games are also available. The desire is for the City Living Room to come to life and become a place for meeting and socializing.
In 2021, the IPoP – Institute for Spatial Policy, in the role of the National URBACT Point, was given the opportunity to transfer good practice to other Slovenian municipalities together with the Municipality of Idrija. The municipalities of Bohinj, Bovec, Ormož, Podlehnik, Radenci and Razkrižje were successful in our tender.
Cooperation between municipalities will take place over a year and a half. During this time, participants will learn about good practice and try to establish a similar platform in their municipality. They will be supported by the National URBACT point, expert Tina Lisac, who was a key person in establishing the platform in Idrija, and employees of the Municipality of Idrija. Above all, the municipalities will support each other and use their local potentials in developing their platforms.
Participating municipalities will use expert support to assess what kind of platform they need and, in cooperation with local stakeholders, develop a plan for its development. By 2022, the participating municipalities will already take the first steps towards implementing the platform in their place.
For the participating municipalities, this will be the first contact with the URBACT program and its approaches. Therefore, it will be a great opportunity to learn about an inclusive and integrated approach for the development and implementation of local policies. Employees and local stakeholders will get equipped with knowledge and skills that will be useful not only in establishing the Platform for NGOs but also later in their work in the local community.
Duration: 6/2021 – 12/2022
The project is funded by the URBACT program.