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  • Ημερίδα Ενημέρωσης του Εθνικού Σημείου Επαφής URBACT

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    Εθνικό Σημείο Επαφής URBACT Ελλάδας-Κύπρου

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    Η νέα χρονιά σηματοδοτεί την έναρξη του νέου προγράμματος εδαφικής συναργασίας URBACT IV το οποίο φιλοδοξεί να ενώσει ακόμη περισσότερες πόλεις και να μεταλαμπαδεύσει ακόμη περισσότερες καλές πρακτικές από άκρη σε άκρη της Ευρώπης. 

    Με την έλευση του νέου έτους ανακοινώθηκε η νέα πρόσκληση για σχηματισμό δικτύων Action Planning Networks η οποία ουσιαστικά αποτελεί την πρώτη από τις ευρωπαϊκές προσκλήσεις που απευθύνονται σε δήμους για την προγραμματική περίοδο 2021-2027.

    Μέσα στο πλαίσιο της ευρύτερης ενημέρωσης και επικοινωνίας της πρόσκλησης, το Εθνικό Σημείο Επαφής URBACT για την Ελλάδα και την Κύπρο, διοργανώνει την Τρίτη 17 Ιανουαρίου 2023 μία ενημερωτική ημερίδα που απευθύνεται σε όσους ενδιαφέρονται να βοηθήσουν την πόλη τους στη βιώσιμη αστική ανάπτυξη, να ενημερωθούν για ευρωπαϊκά προγράμματα εδαφικής συνεργασίας, να μάθουν από παραδείγματα άλλων ευρωπαϊκών πόλεων και γενικά σε όσους θέλουν να είναι ενεργοί πολίτες.

    Η ημερίδα θα λάβει χώρα στο Μουσείο Ιστορίας του Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών (Θόλου 5, Πλάκα) και η ώρα προσέλευσης είναι 10:00 π.μ.


    Αυτή η σελίδα έχει ως στόχο να προβάλει πληροφορίες, νέα και άρθρα σχετικά με το URBACT στην Ελληνική γλώσσα. Βρίσκεται προς το παρόν υπό κατασκευή και θα είναι διαθέσιμη τον Οκτώβριο.

    Σας πληροφορούμε ότι η επόμενη πρόσκληση του URBACT για σχηματισμό Δικτύων Σχεδιασμού Δράσεων έχει ανοίξει στις αρχές Ιανουαρίου 2023.

    Σας προσκαλούμε να αναζητήσετε εκδηλώσεις που γίνονται  εδώ και να ανακαλύψετε πως μπορείτε να ασχοληθείτε με το URBACT εδώ (link στα Αγγλικά). Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες στη γλώσσα σας, παρακαλούμε επικοινωνήστε με το Εθνικό Σημείο Επαφής URBACT για την Ελλάδα και την Κύπρο.



    National URBACT Point - Greece and Cyprus

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  • Volunteering Cities +


    Kick-off meeting (September), Transnational Meeting (November)
    Transnational Meetings (April, June, September), Final Event (December)

    The transfer network makes use of Volunteerism to approach social exclusion and poverty at the community level. Focus is given to an inter-generational collaboration where different age groups of both volunteers and individuals facing social problems work towards a sustainable evolution of the quality of life within local society. The network aims at structuring the volunteering activity giving validity to a bottom up approach, where volunteers can decide and implement actions.

    Volunteers connect cities, from compassion to action
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  • 'Volunteering Cities' a Powerful Model for European Cities

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    To develop the innovative policies necessary to face the currently emerging multidimensional social needs in cities such as elderly and children care, social isolation and depression, poverty, addiction, just to name some, it is necessary to create collective learning processes based on exchange and peer to peer learning.


    European social policies have been in a central position in the last Cohesion Policy frameworks. However, the last mid-term report has shown that in spite of a general improvement of the economic indicators, poverty and social inclusion have not registered the same positive evolution. In this framework, the community involvement and participation is getting an increasing importance either to identify the problems with more accuracy, but also to create the solutions that are closer to people in need and more adequate to the problems.

    In order to facilitate the peer learning among cities, URBACT has promoted the Transfer Networks. “Volunteering cities” is one of the 25 transfer networks approved by the URBACT Secretariat in April 2018. This network is led by the city of Athienou (CY) that was awarded URBACT Good Practice in 2017.

    Transfer of the volunteering governance model

    The transfer network “Volunteering Cities” aims to promote the transfer and adaptation of this Good Practice, consisting of volunteering structured and intergenerational processes, to the partner cities as leverage to improve social inclusion, to fight poverty and raise better levels of citizens’ quality of life in a more cohesive society. In this structured participative Governance Model to design and implement the municipal social policy, the volunteers play a key role.

    Municipal Council of Volunteerism (MCV)

    Framed within a national Programme, Athienou city has established a Municipal Council of Volunteerism (MCV), chaired by the Mayor, with 48 members elected by the community (local organizations, political parties, parents associations, church and sponsors). The MCV is an umbrella Council for four programs, each one with its own Council of volunteers, supporting the programs ‘staff in their tasks and responsibilities. The four programs are: an Elderly Home, a Center for Adults with initiatives related with occupational activities for isolated people and day care activities, the Municipal Nursery Center and the Social Welfare Committee. This latter Committee, chaired by the Mayor and with a close collaboration with the Social Welfare Office and the Ministry of Education, is a kind of a social department of the municipality but working with a participative structure. 

    Kyriacos Kareklas, Mayor of Athienou and Lead Partner of the present Transfer Network states that “Although, volunteers take the decisions, the committee operates under strict standards, it reports for its actions and it is audited by the legal authorities. Since its establishment in 2012, an average of 40 individuals is supported at any given time. The support is also in full collaboration with the rest of the programs of the MCV”.

    The MCV as a whole uses a bottom up approach, with the institutions achieving a vertical and horizontal integration that allows the volunteers to take decisions with the necessary validation.

    Intergenerational work: a sustainability factor

    A key sustainability factor of these initiatives is the intergenerational element, joint initiatives of different age groups of the community. The children begin very early to participate in volunteering activities as well as are also beneficiaries of volunteering activities fostering a continuity culture from generation to generation. As an example can be mentioned the weekly regular visits of the children to the elderly home in order to have some joint entertainment activities with the old people. Another example is the frequent visits that volunteers make to schools with storytelling initiatives to encourage the volunteering engagement of children and young people.

    A strong corporate social responsibility of local companies

    Furthermore, there is an additional element based on a strong Corporate Social Responsibility component from the main Employers’ Associations of the Region. This rather extraordinary support given by the private sector to the social welfare of the region has some reasons. In the first place it is necessary to mention that the economic tissue of the area is essentially based on agriculture, cattle breeding and other related industries. For instance, this Association is providing the Elderly Home with 30 liters milk a day and 20 Kg meat a week free of charge. These sectors are essentially family rooted with a strong intergenerational succession in the businesses. This succession feeds the continuation of the existing cohesive culture and the solidarity principle in the society; another relevant factor is the isolation of the city due to the special geographical location in the middle of the United Nations buffer zone between Cyprus and the Turkish occupied territories, around 80% of the agricultural area of Athienou.

    Kyriacos Kareklas also says, “Athienou Good Practice was generated in the city for many years. Its key-strength is the inter-generational collaboration, in which different age groups of both volunteers and individuals facing social problems, work together towards a sustainable evolution of the quality of life within local society”.

    The Transfer Network

    The network involves seven partner cities that are geographically distributed across Europe in order to enable a wider testing of the necessary approaches in different contexts and Governance Models: Capizzi (IT)) and Athy (IE) are already full partners in the first 6 months phase of the project and Ratlin (PL), Altena (DE), Altea (ES), Arcos de Valdevez (PT) and Pregrada (HR) as network enlargement partner cities.

    The biggest challenge for the transfer network is the identification of the elements and methodologies for the transfer that suits better each one of the partner cities having in consideration the wide variety of socio-economic characteristics. The population varies from around 3,000 inhabitants to 23,000, the volunteering structures are differently organised and the social hot spots are also diversified (high unemployment rates, brain drain, ageing population…).

    To be able to face the above mentioned challenges it is fundamental to create the conditions for a wide involvement of stakeholders and to promote their empowerment and capacity to participate in the identification of the good practice elements that can support adding value to the already existing volunteering structures. To do this, each city is setting-up an URBACT Local Group (ULG), a group of the stakeholders that can play a key role in the transfer process. The ULG’s will be the necessary vehicle to foster integrated and participative approaches to the urban policies thematic areas Social inclusion and Governance, and for the elaboration of an implementation action plan. The main elements emerging from this very early stage of the work seem to be: improving participative decision mechanisms using volunteers, if possible by reinforcing the respective institutionalization, reinforcement of intergenerational actions in the volunteer activities, intensification of the private sector citizenship and the reinforcement of the volunteer work in the implementation of the municipal social policies.

    At a further stage, in the second phase of the Network, the ULGs will be the key success factor for the implementation of the Action Plan of the Transfer Network during the respective 24 months duration.

    More on Transfer Networks methodology.

    The spirit of volunteerism

    Through the practice of volunteerism the Transfer Network is based on a participatory approach that uses the main resource of a community, the citizens themselves, and focuses on their social needs and priorities. The spirit of volunteerism promotes a strong sense of solidarity and cohesion to a group and as a consequence a sense of belonging to a well-functioning community context. The Transfer Network offers a well-defined horizontal integration at the level of the cities and their inhabitants, as well as a vertical integration of volunteerism within the governance structure.

    To finish we would like to highlight that Mr. Kareklas stated: “The URBACT Transfer Networks are a great challenge to promote the transfer of the Good Practice in the other cities. We understand that transferring is not an easy process, but with the help of the Lead Expert and our willingness to accomplish it, we are confident for the good job we will finally have. URBACT gave us a great opportunity and we are all planning to go on to succeed”.

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  • The Municipal Council of Volunteering


    Volunteering approach to community care

    Stavroula Georgiu
    Network Manager
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    The Municipal Council of Volunteers (MCV) is a stable participatory governance structure that helps coordinate the activities of volunteers, creating synergies among them and enhancing the capacities to reach out groups of the population which need additional support beyond the existing public welfare and social system. The MCV is intergenerational, it is open to everyone in the city and it is a powerful approach to maximise social support especially in small and medium size cities.


    The Municipal Council of Volunteers (MCV) is a stable participatory governance structure that helps coordinate the activities of volunteers, creating synergies among them and enhancing the capacities to reach out groups of the population which need additional support beyond the existing public welfare and social system. The MCV is intergenerational, it is open to everyone in the city and it is a powerful approach to maximise social support especially in small and medium size cities.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    Since 1974, with the Turkish occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, Athienou has a special status with its urban area being within the buffer zone ( 80% of its rural area occupied by the Turkish army,) and thus being isolated from other urban center in the Cyprus Island. At that time, many people were in need to restart their lives after the occupation and volunteerism was one of the main tools to rebuild social ties. Athienou today still suffers from isolation and constantly see a resource in the volunteering collaboration between its citizens. Today, voluntarism is well rooted in the social life of the city, institutionalised in 2012 with the creation of a Municipal Council of Volunteers (MCV). Chaired by the Mayor, the MCV counts 48 members elected by the community (local organizations, political parties, parents associations, church and sponsors) . The duty of the MCV is to understand, and offer support, to social problems affecting the inhabitants of the Athienou, especially those most vulnerable. Its work covers different thematic areas such as elderly support, care, life long learning, nursery, energy efficiency, climate change et al. The MCV is currently organised around 4 main projects: 1 the Kleanthios Elderly Home, 2. The Konstanileneion Center for Adults with initiatives related with occupational activities for isolated people and day care activities. In close collaboration with the welfare committee, services are offered with little or no cost to individuals in need, such as food preparing, home-care, and healthcare.3. the Municipal Nursery Center which has a capacity to offer high quality nursery services to 100 babies and infants. Approximately 20 percent of the families that benefit from these services are monitored and receive help by the Municipal Welfare Committee and 4, the Social Welfare Committee. This latter, chaired by the Mayor and with a close collaboration with the Social Welfare Office and the Ministry of Education. Funding comes from individuals, private companies, organised groups and local and/or national authorities.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    A key sustainability factor of the MCV initiatives is the intergenerational approach. Children participate in volunteering activities, and this investment at a early age makes them familiarise with a culture of volunteering which will be carried out from generation to generation. For instance, Children in Athnienou pay regular visits to the elderly home in order to attend joint entertainment activities. At the same time, volunteers visit regularly schools engaging kids in storytelling initiatives while encouraging the volunteering engagement.


    Vertical integration begins with the volunteers working for MCV, in close collaboration with the municipal authorities. The MCV is under the District Coordinating Council of Volunteerism, which is under the National Coordinating Council of Volunteerism, the National Welfare Office and the Ministry of Labour. With regards to territorial integration, the MCV of Athienou covers the Athienou Municipality and is part of a national network of Volunteering Councils. These efforts also include activities towards environmental sustainability. The MCV members are highly aware of environmental issues and have set a strategy that includes renewable energy sources.

    Based on a participatory approach

    The MCV architecture is based on the active participation of organised groups within the community. Any citizen can be a member and/or volunteer and the MCV offers a frame for people to assume an active role in support of others depending on the volunteer attitude, skills, professional expertise and time availability. Although, volunteers take the decisions, the committee operates under strict standards, it reports for its actions and it is audited by the legal authorities. The MCV also employs certified staff, dedicated to providing professional support and training of the volunteers. The total number of volunteers exceeds 200 at any given time. The Municipal Council of Volunteerism is composed of 48 members from local organisations and approved by the volunteers. There is a close collaboration with the Welfare Office of the Ministry of Labour, where a budget and sustainability report is submitted annually for additional governmental funding. The president of the Council is the mayor of Athienou. Every programme has an 11-member Coordinating Committee. The president of the Committee is also a member of the Council. Many of the volunteers provide their expertise for the programmes.


    What difference has it made?

    Despite its long standing tradition of volunteerism in the city, the main barrier today is the low engagement of volunteers in the age group between 25 - 45 years old, and to further address the challenge to reach out the whole population especially people most in needs. The main concern of the improvement plan of the city of Atheniou was therefore to update the work of the MCV with actions involving the youths and specific target groups such as people with disabilities, youth and young professional, and parents of toddlers and school age children. As result from the improvement plan adopted in the Volunteering cities network, the municipality adopted the MunicipalYouth Board, which promotes the ownership of actions by the younger population. Social media have been an important tool for improving this action, as much as the collaboration with school teachers, family of students providing manuals and resources on how to engage in volunteering activities. Another important step was to create stronger linkages with the private sector trough social corporate responsibility achieved by branding the good practice of volunteering.

    Transferring the practice

    Athienou has greatly invested in transferring its methodology of organising volunteering activities at municipal level. The transferability study highlighted 5 elements of transfer in the governance model,intergenerationality, involvement of young volunteers and corporate citizenship. The overall strategy of the transfer plan is to enhance the volunteerism sustainability cycle as described in the Transfer Network proposal and the Transferability Study:

    1. Volunteerism greatly contributes to the increase of the quality of life and the progress of the community.
    2. The intergenerational interaction within the volunteering activities guarantees the sustainability of this volunteerism tradition in the communities
    3. Bigger engagement and participation of stakeholders increases the effectiveness of the actions and programs that sustain the quality of life and the social evolution.

    The methodology has been shared through a guide for transfer resulting from the networks partner cities activities. All cities in the network adopted the Athnieou approach and have been able to launch small scale practices in the lifetime of the network.

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  • A new era


    Managing a city's sustainable development focusing on economic, environmental, social and cultural revival

    Corallia Zachariou Massoura
    Senior Engineer Limassol Municipality
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    Limassol (CY) has had new life breathed into it as a result of several major urban regeneration projects to improve the city's historic centre, seafront, and other areas. Over 15 years, the environment and quality of life have been improved and the city's marketability and competitiveness boosted. As a result, new businesses have opened and new jobs created. The regeneration projects have improved the attractiveness and air quality of commercial and residential areas. The local economy has been boosted as the city's new look attracts more visitors. Residents of the city - and the wider metropolitan area - have also benefited. As the city became more attractive, its public places increasingly became meeting places for social activities. The projects have helped preserve the cultural identity of Limassol's historic centre by highlighting its traditional architecture: old buildings have been restored and are now used for cultural, educational and residential purposes.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    Τoday’s European approach towards cities’ design supports the principle of utilising the existing building and environmental inventory and returning to the centres to deal with the crisis and urban development problems. Initiatives and actions are not confined to the narrow context of physical development and the urban environment but extend to economic and social issues. A sustainable city is characterised by a robust environment, economy and social welfare system. Based on the above, the Area Plan for Limassol City Centre determined the functional structures, permitted land use and pedestrian modules and creation of open spaces, all within an existing and structurally defined area, and all were converted to opportunities for successful sustainable urban development. Among the objectives leading to the exploitation of opportunities were the following: • The completion and modernisation of the basic infrastructure to respond to the enhanced requirements for the safety, health and comfort of citizens; • The creation of areas of special interest characterizing the city; • The implementation of traffic management measures with an emphasis on pedestrian, bicycle and bus transport and the simultaneous discouraging of vehicular traffic; • Exploitation of the urban free spaces/squares and their contribution to the city’s social life by using them as gathering places for events, activities and rest and relaxation; • The identification and promotion of monuments; • A combination of old and new.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    Limassol’s practice contributes to the sustainable and integrated approach as it applies horizontal integration for interventions that combine physical, economic, social and environmental dimensions and vertical integration in terms of cooperation among all levels of government and local and EU actors. An initial stage of the preparation and adoption of the Strategic Plan for an Integrated Sustainable Urban Development to solve problems like abandoned spaces, city planning, disadvantaged neighbourhoods, urban mobility, culture and heritage, strategic planning and urban renewal was crucial, because it led to a strategic and also to a cooperative and participatory approach. Based on the above, the practice implemented in Limassol changed the city into a more sustainable urban living space as the development was accompanied by measures designed to reduce poverty, social exclusion and environmental problems. This integrated approach brought together social and economic actors to implement physical, economic, social and environmental actions, and the integrated development thus promoted a genuine solution to complex urban problems. The overall city planning strategy was followed and the objectives of the Plan were achieved: the redevelopment, upgrading and sustainable evolution of the centre of Limassol by maintaining its own symbolism and character. The implementation of the Plan contributed to the urban make-up and revival of the city centre.

    Based on a participatory approach

    The Local Authority was financially unable to undertake this huge restructuring intervention consisting of large infrastructure projects, due to its limited budget. State involvement, semi-government organisations and private sector initiatives were essential. Methods such as ΒΟΤ, ΡΡΡ and others proved to be particularly efficient. Additionally, co-financing from the European Union was also crucial, wherever feasible. Specifically, in the projects development and implementation, there was a significant and undisputed participation on the part of: • The Town Planning and Housing Department, for the preparation of the Area Plan for Limassol Centre; • Limassol Municipality, which undertook the responsibility of building the main infrastructure projects in the city centre and on the seafront; • The private sector, which promoted Limassol Marina; • The Cyprus Ports Authority, which was responsible for the regeneration of the old port; • The state, which contributed to the financing of some of the projects; • Building owners, for the restoration of their buildings; • The Archaeological Department, which contributed to the restoration of archaeological buildings and sites; • The Cyprus University of Technology, which undertook the restoration of buildings to accommodate the university faculties; • The bus company, which renewed its fleet; • The Chamber of Commerce and the public, who expressed their opinions on the plans and designs during public presentations.

    What difference has it made?

    A New Era: Limassol flourishes again as a coastal city. The positive results have already materialised as, despite the economic crisis plaguing the country, the centre of the city is one of the very few areas in Cyprus exhibiting growth and development. The reason is that, in addition to the areas of recreation and entertainment that were created for a young population, a large number of residential units have also been developed, attracting many residents to the centre of Limassol – a trend that would have seemed far removed 10 years ago. The active city planning aim of qualitative social improvement and round-the-clock activity in the centre of the city – in essence revitalising it both socially and economically – has been achieved. A number of quality comforts, facilities and installations for public recreation and relaxation included in the projects have made the centre a unique area whose reputation has spread across Cyprus. The local character and colour of Limassol was also conserved and promoted. The city now offers greater hospitality, freshness and an open-hearted atmosphere, which is mainly felt during the warm Mediterranean summer and autumn days and nights. It is relaxing and offers peace of mind. Beyond the social parameters, the city centre has been enhanced through the restoration of old and abandoned buildings, providing a higher standard of built environment.

    Why should other European cities use it?

    We strongly believe that Limassol’s good practice is interesting for other European cities as many of them face similar problems. Limassol’s good practice has achieved the desired results and can be recommended as a model. With the reuse of good practice, other cities will improve their own integrated urban policies and the delivery of these policies on the ground. Limassol’s good practice addresses issues widely faced by cities, offers practical and result-oriented solutions and applies a sustainable and integrated approach to tackling urban challenges. It is a participatory approach in both project development and implementation, involving all relevant stakeholders, is well-documented and has made a visible and measurable difference to the city and in the wider metropolitan area. The practice can easily be adopted and amended by any other European city. Details for comparison and adoption are available concerning the cost and the financing methods. It is a long-term practice that is still operating in Limassol. Our experience is conditional upon certain prerequisites that are valid not only for European coastal cities that are experiencing similar fiscal and climatic conditions to Cyprus but for every European city with a significant cultural background.

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  • SURE


    Project launch
    Project completed

    Implementation of integrated socio-economic regeneration strategies which build on local strengths and opportunities. This will be achieved by developing an integrated Socio-economic Urban REhabilitation Model for small and medium sized cities.

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