Bike-stop for social inclusion: “From guest to host”

Our new project under programme is in progress. The applicant organization is Social Cooperative Il Faro, Italy. Partners are: SPAIN: Fundación Escuela de Solidaridad (FES); BULGARIA: Sdruzenie Brainstorm Grup; ITALY: Steel Minds s.r.l.; U.K.: Mary Seacole Housing Association (MSHA); SERBIA: Housing Center – Housing Development Center for Socially Vulnerable Groups (HC); ROMANIA: Association of Intercultural Mediators (AIM); GERMANY: UeberBruecken (UB)

Bike-stop for social inclusion: “From guest to host” aims to be a social innovation project in favour of the inclusion of those at high risk of marginalisation. The project is presented by a partnership of 9 organisations from 7 different countries (Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Germany and the United Kingdom) and aims to develop a shared innovative model of social inclusion in contexts where it is increasingly difficult to find employment opportunities. The intent of the organisations is to experiment with an active reception model that provides daily training on the theme of cycle tourism, and an immersion in everyday life that offers constant opportunities for non-formal and informal learning.

The first result that we hope to achieve is to offer to adults in difficulty a different perspective of what a reception is, whose impact is immediately offered thanks to the discrepancy between the expectations of being in a residential community and the experience of living in an “albergabici” (bike hotel), moving from a “passive user” logic to an “active reception” logic. This discrepancy is in regards to both the structural aspects (distribution of spaces, furnishings, presence of a front-office with tourist brochures, etc.), and the emotional aspects, being in frequent contact with people with different experiences.

The project proposes two training courses:

  • the first is a short-course for 12 professionals on staff, aimed at the educators/operators motivated to implement this active reception model;
  • the second course is aimed at 14 students in disadvantaged situations (ie  living in residential care communities), aimed at acquiring the skills necessary for the management of the reception of cyclists and a new social life outside of the community, the cultural and linguistic exchanges that this provides, and assistance with the use of digital technologies.

The project involves the construction of 2 intellectual outputs:

  • a manual / guideline on how to implement the proposed reception model, aimed at organisations that manage residential communities;
  • an IT product aimed at promoting the active reception model through the promotion of available hosts with attached cycle repair shops.

Each action of the project leans in a single direction: to change the model of residential communities that is prevalent to date, that is, to move from a model of welfare reception to a model that gives back to the user – gives dignity and the enhancement of their skills.

The innovative model of social inclusion “From guest to host” will produce a change of perspective in adults, from passive subjects inserted in a residential community to subjects who manage a bike hotel and a cycle repair shop. It follows then that the project actions will produce an overall impact in terms of the concrete development, transfer and implementation of an innovative practice, which reverses the logic of traditional reception and transforms it into a place of informal and multicultural learning. This change will inevitably generate the informal acquisition of relational skills, the continuous cultural and linguistic exchange with the guest cyclists, the concrete participation in the social life outside the community life, and a facilitated access to digital technologies.

The impacts of the project will be recorded both on staff, who will be involved in a generative welfare service and on adults in difficulty, who will experience the growth of skills and abilities with a culturally transnational perspective, as well as on the organisations involved in the project in various capacities. With respect to stakeholders, it will be possible to find: the advancement of generative reception models, in view of constant networking with local associations promotion and public awareness of social issues; the transmission of the values of active citizenship through transnational experiences; reduction of public spending by boosting the economic autonomy of institutionalized subjects.

The project will be carried out at a transnational level in order to allow the long-term creation of a network of participating structures at an international level, thus promoting the possibility that cyclists from different European countries can stay in the residential communities and spread awareness of European citizenship to the adults living there, who currently experience a somewhat removed European sentiment.

The first result that we hope to achieve is to give adults in difficulty a different perspective of reception and hosting, whose impact is immediately offered by the discrepancy between the expectations from being in a community and the experience of living in a “bike hotel”. This discrepancy will concern both the structural expectations (distribution of spaces, furnishings, presence of a front office with tourist brochures, etc.), and the emotional aspects, being in contact with people with different experiences. The experimentation of the model will be tested by FARO, MSHA and FES in terms of first reception projects and by BRAINSTORM, UB, AIM and HC in terms of reception projects to be activated for the development of autonomy projects.

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