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4th International DeCoDe Partner Event in Łódź, Poland City news

4th International DeCoDe Partner Event in Łódź, Poland

The fourth meeting “Best Practices for the Depopulation Control Action Plan” within the project “Challenges of Regional Centres: Depopulation Control, Development –best practices” (DeCoDe) took place in Łódź, Poland at the end of May. Lodzkie Region, a Partner of DeCoDe project hosted the meeting for partners and local representatives of academia, administration and non-governmental sector from eight countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Romania, Italy, Denmark and Spain.

In Łódź, the project participants were acquainted with depopulation situation of the Lodzkie region, with a focus on changes in statistical data, migrations, and regional economy. The chosen Polish best practice was presented by the representatives of the Regional Centre for Social Policy. Those were universal design of the public spaces and facilities to make it more accessible, the Senior Card of the Lodzkie Region Programme, the Regional Large Family Card Programme and the Regional FASD Diagnosis and Therapy Point in Łódź. The representative of the Regional Labour Office presented the Community Service Centres in Lodzkie Region, implemented with the help of European Funds as a cooperation of districts, local communities and NGOs. The Regional Operational Programme of the Lodzkie Region was also a focal point of the presentation of European Social Fund Department at Marshal’s Office of the Lodzkie Region. The presentation on acting against depopulation Education and Labour Market Projects ROP of Lodzkie Region 2014-2020 was showing different approaches towards the challenges of the region. The representative of the Marshal’s Office of the Lodzkie Region presented the experience and selected implemented projects.

The important part of the 4th International Partner Event were two study visits planned for the second day of the meeting – one in the TULI LULI pre-adoptive center and hospice for children and second in Lodzkie Cultural Centre. The study visit in TULI LULI showed the importance of the first Pre-Adoptional Intervention Centre in the Łódź region. Infants who cannot or do not want to be taken care of by their biological parents are placed there. They stay in TULI LULI until the team finds a new family. No child feels lonely even for a moment, because it has a guardian and volunteers ready to meet all their biological and mental needs (e.g. cuddling and playing). If necessary, for example in the case of premature babies, a physiotherapist, neurologist and speech therapist will take care of them.

An important part of meeting was the thematic session on exchange of experience between partners, as well as a debate on the structure of action plan, and work on the structure of Depopulation Control Action Plan. The session was chaired by the team of researchers for the Faculty of Regional and Social Geography at the University of Lodz. The partners agreed to form a common understanding and definition of the best practice since for each one of the partner the presented activities and implemented actions are of different scope. This clarification might be needed as an introduction to the future Action Plan. The partners also discussed what methodology should be used in order to document best practice, since scientific point of view might be beneficial for the project. In the discussion other issues arrived, such as the sustainability and success of best practice and how to measure it, the factors that can help to implement best practice, the cooperation of different actors, representing different sectors (quadruple helix), as well as questions of human and social capital. All those element should be incorporated in the future Action Plan.

To finalize the event the participants were invited to the Lodzki Culture Centre (ŁDK), one of the oldest cultural institutions in the Lodzkie Region that has been operating since 1953. ŁDK as a regional institution co-organizes many cultural events in communes and districts, as well as trainings for representatives of cultural and local government institutions from the area of the Lodzkie Voivodeship. ŁDK is a place where clubs and associations (including the University of the Third Age), music and theatre groups and courses (dance, yoga, drawing and painting), a film centre with a cinema and 5 galleries operate. Representatives of Third Age Universities shared their experiences with project partners. ŁDK also shared their activities targeted to senior citizens of the region and their annual project “Przystanek 60+”.

The project aims to create an international, sustainable network of European cities to share their experiences on depopulation processes and their impacts, and to find solutions to reduce depopulation.

Next project partner meeting is planned in Daugavpils, Latvia in November, 2019.  The project is financed under the European Union programme “Europe for Citizens”. Implementation timeline: 01.03.2018.-01.02.2020.

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Information provided by the project partner from Lodzkie Region: