CesR partners meeting in Malopolska Region (Poland)

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The partners of CesR project took part in a four-day study visit (02.-06.06.2014) organised by the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences. The aim of this study visit was to present and discuss identified good practices of cooperation in rural areas of Malopolska Region, which meet various criteria of the project. 21 participants from 9 countries had the opportunity to experience Malopolska.

Participants of CesR study visit to Malopolska Region

Participants of CesR study visit to Malopolska Region

At the beginning of the study trip, participants met Mrs. Katarzyna Łagosz, the representative of a “The Plum Trail Association” (www.nasliwkowymszlaku.pl/; www.theplum.eu) – a local action group. This association gathers 137 members (mostly SME and providers of tourism services) from 7 different, but geographically connected municipalities.  A plum is the symbol of local tradition and culture used by all associated municipalities to promote their region in the activities carried out by all members of the action group. The Association has created the “Plum trail”, which combines various types of tourism and other services within the region. Implemented activities are more than just marketing actions, as the Association cooperates also with local and regional governments, working for local development strategy. It also supports, coordinates and advises its members in their ideas and helps them to gather funds for projects in line with the Association’s strategy. “The Plum Trail Association” has established a variety of activities and goals, but the most important one is the development of local area, focused on improving the quality of life of its residents by retaining and creating sustainable jobs for them. During the study trip, the CesR partners had opportunity to meet and talk with several members of “The Plum Trail Association”, e.g. Mrs. Urszula Kamińska, the owner of “Nowizny” vineyard  (www.winnicanowizny.pl), Mr. Stanisław Nowak, an owner of a horticultural farm (www.stawy-zmiaca.pl), Mrs. Bogusława Pajor, an educator from the Association (workshops), and owners of “Bacówka Biały Jeleń” agritourism farm (http://bacowka.com.pl). The members of the Association confirmed good practices applied within the Association and benefits of their membership.

“Nowizny” vineyard and treats offered by members of “The Plum Trail Association”

Visit at “Nowizny” vineyard and treats offered by members of “The Plum Trail Association”

The second part of the study trip was focused on good practices in two social cooperatives in the municipality of Raciechowice (approx. 6000 residents), where the local authorities, NGOs and interested parties try to maintain the employment level or even create new workplaces for people experiencing difficulties in finding a job.  In almost less three years they have created 29 jobs and there are plans for more. Three meetings were arranged at two different places to demonstrate good practices, and to provide the visitors with an opportunity to present their work and discuss with other CesR participants. The first presentation and discussion took place in the headquarters of Social Cooperative “Forge of taste” (http://sskuzniasmaku.pl/), which was established in 2013 with the goal to produce traditional food products from local fruits and vegetables, bought directly from local farmers. The social aspect of this initiative is implemented by offering jobs to unemployed persons with abilities other than those required at the local labour market (i.e. local artists, craftsmen, people of obsolete occupations, etc.).

Social Cooperative “The forge of taste”

Presentation of Social Cooperative “The forge of taste”

The next presentation and discussion was led by  Mr. Marek Gabzdyl, the Mayor of the Raciechowice Municipality (http://www.raciechowice.pl/), who explained the models of specific public-private initiatives applied by social cooperatives and local authorities. The third meeting was hosted by Mrs. Barbara Miąsko, a representative of Social Cooperative “Haven” (http://shespa.nazwa.pl/przystan/). This entity offers a wide range of services focusing on preparing and catering food for local schools and providing maintenance/housekeeping services in four schools of the municipality. Other activities include food catering services to local residents and employees of local companies, and the same services for meetings, conferences and events. The members (employees) of the Cooperative also operate a guesthouse (20 beds), with kitchen facilities and conference room. They also actively participate in cultural life of the region, especially by cultivating local and regional traditions. Social Cooperative “Haven” is a good example of the cooperation between local community, non-governmental organizations and municipality self-government.

Meeting with Mayor of Raciechowice

Meeting with Mayor of Raciechowice

The final example of good practices, selected by Polish team for presentation, was a ski-resort that managed to avoid seasonality in the demand for its services by preparing an additional offer that may attract tourists throughout the round. Employees of this resort are skilled in different fields, so they can easily switch to other professions, when it is needed. The ski resort (“Czorsztyn-ski Resort”http://www.czorsztyn-ski.com.pl/) is located in the mountains near the Polish-Slovakian border and surrounded by a few national parks.  The policies and goals of the Resort were presented by its owners  and after the presentation CesR project participants took part in a guided tour around of the resort and enjoyed some of its attractions .

The visit was summed up during Project’s Steering Committee Meeting and Technical Meeting in order to evaluate presented good practices and discuss possibilities of their transfer from Malopolska Region to other European Regions.

CesR Technical Meeting

Discussion during the Technical Meeting

For additional information about this study visit please contact Polish organizers:

Marek Więckowski, marekw@twarda.pan.pl

Magdalena Górczyńska,  mgor@twarda.pan.pl

Denis Cerić, d.ceric@twarda.pan.pl