Network D Strengthening the national social economy (the third sector), in particular the services of interest to the community, with a focus on improving the quality of jobs.
Project name ”COGITO” – Cracow Initiative for Social Economy
Project number D0519

Project description

The Partnership's objective is to increase the vocational activity of those people who remain unemployed due to mental illnesses and those who are facing the psychological consequences of remaining unemployed for a long time. This is to be done by means of creating a model for employment within the framework of social economy, and especially by developing and testing a mechanism for the establishment and promotion of social enterprises as a method for the social and vocational integration of such people.

Four model social enterprises will be established under the project. They will employ people from the target group, and they will be supported by vocational training, counselling systems, as well as social and vocational rehabilitation systems (two Social Integration Clubs). This will be accompanied by a support system addressed to the beneficiaries' closest family members, mainly focused on the development of self-help within the families of people from the target group. The newly established enterprises will operate in the most "normal" way possible, as this is the best way to route mentally ill people out of hospitals and reintegrate them with local communities as useful workers (and not as patients). The newly established model social enterprises will be a specific "proving ground" for testing both the external factors affecting these organisations (such as the law, taxes, macroeconomics) and specific internal solutions within the organisation (such as process management systems and human resources management systems).

Apart from the four social enterprises, the Municipal Social Welfare Centre in Cracow will also establish a laboratory with 20 work places adapted to meet the needs and abilities of the target group. Seventeen of these jobs will be related to maintenance and repairs, and 3 people (with adequate education) will be employed by the Counselling Department of the Municipal Social Welfare Centre. One of the main results of this laboratory will be the development of a method for effective vocational and social reintegration of the people from the target group.

The target group will cover approximately 2500 people, 200 of whom will take part in vocational training, 100 in social and vocational rehabilitation within the Social Integration Club, 300 will participate in conferences and seminars, and 60 will find jobs at social enterprises, other individual work places and within public works. Over 2000 project participants will take part in educational initiatives, such as "The Day of Solidarity with Schizophrenics" which will be held in the streets of Polish cities across the whole country.

The Partnership would like to secure permanent infrastructure support to strengthen the development of social economy. To this end, it is planning, based on research and analyses, to create, implement, and effectively operate a model consulting institution, including a computer-based information and consulting system. Special focus will be given to the development of a catalogue of funding possibilities for social economy initiatives in Polish economy. The results of research conducted within the project indicate that there are not enough people on the labour market with appropriate skills to establish and develop social enterprises. The Partnership would like to bridge this gap by directly educating future and present leaders of social economy initiatives, as well as by creating and describing model solutions.

The main output of the Partnership will be a model for a consulting institution and model solutions for social enterprises. During project implementation, the consulting institution will develop an effective consulting methodology for the existing and newly established social enterprises by means of individual consultations and internet-based consultations. The progress and subsequent steps of the consulting process will be analysed and described, as will be the path followed by the recipient from the moment the need for support is identified, through subsequent stages, to the measurement and monitoring of consultation results.

The Partnership has put forward four model social enterprises for dissemination. They are providers of food services, catering, housekeeping services, and a bicycle rental facility. Moreover, good practices which will be developed during project implementation will be disseminated. They are, for example, educational programmes for the preparation of the managerial staff of social enterprises and for vocational training of the mentally ill, model solutions for creating public administration jobs for the mentally ill, proposals of financial instruments to enable individual and institutional investors to constructively support social economy initiatives, as well as the legal and financial framework for such enterprises, including so-called social franchising.

The dissemination of project outputs will take place at two levels: promotion of project outputs at subsequent project stages and upon their completion, as well as promotion and education in the area of the Polish model of social entrepreneurship and related issues. Each partner will use its own distribution channels (e.g. websites, publications). The unifying element will be the Partnership's website:, which will contain a special news service about the project achievements. To promote the employment of people from the target group and the concepts and forms of social economy, the Partnership would like to utilise, inter alia, electronic and printed media.