Gdynia Dialogue with Seniors

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Gdynia Dialogue with Seniors

Gdynia, Poland
Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Gdynia implements politics and initiatives for seniors using the dialogue with citizens as the tool to promote social activity and respect diversity.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

According to the EU Report Active Aging Index, Poland is unfortunately on the last position from all 27 EU countries (before 1st July2013) regarding the level of employment of seniors, low level of engagement into civil initiatives, voluntary activities (only 4,8% comparing 14,9% average for EU). Only 10% of seniors devote their time to voluntary work for other seniors in Poland. Gdynia's mission is to break up this situation and that's visible in the general politics of the city together with individual initiatives. In fact, over 20% of Gdynia citizens are seniors. Gdynia authorities take the initiative to build the environment which is friendly for elderly people and put the big impact to inform, engage and create the civil panel about different aspects of seniors' life - the regularly activities for and with seniors' groups from different background. The complexity of social environment adjusted to seniors needs links welfare care with innovative solutions regarding social life, urban space and activating offer. Gdynia is relatively young city with specific seniors’ profile – the majority took part in developing the city from the beginning, building and working in the port and the shipyard. Also the diversity (in social and economic situation, education, life experience) of seniors is visible regarding the specific city districts. It’s the key issue to create the friendly environment for seniors taking their needs and expectations into consideration. The dialogue with seniors intends to be the whole communication process built as long-term systematic tool. It’s crucial to create the right conditions and trust in response to seniors needs. That means direct contact most of the time because on-line surveys don’t respond to seniors very often. And that’s time consuming because it’s not possible to build engagement by single initiative – only the long-term process can generate the real positive change – asking for opinion, providing solutions and feedback. The dialogue and its tools purpose is to show the portrait of seniors living in Gdynia and the evaluation of it - how it changes every year and what are the paths of this change and development.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

There are 2 complementary dimensions of Gdynia policy towards seniors, both realized in strong cooperation with Foundation for Social Innovation and Research Shipyard: 1. Friendly and safe urban space - activities and consultations with seniors are intended to examine the stage of adjustment of urban areas in different parts of Gdynia by: - Research walks for disabled people to point barriers in the urban space and to show good practices of creating appropriate and friendly environment for all. - Research walks for seniors dedicated to analyze the availability of the municipal infrastructure in the center of Gdynia for elderly people. The priority of Gdynia authorities is the best adaptation and safety of public spaces to the needs of seniors. As the result from pilot stage we were able to get very concrete seniors’ needs regarding urban space – there is the strong request to adapt urban space taking into consideration arrangement of benches and public toilets in the city center. Also the arrangement of bus stops needs better adaptation together with more clear and visible bus schedule. 2. Implementation of the new way of interactive communication channels with seniors by: - Civil panel for seniors to engage this group of citizens to share their opinion on different aspects of their life – such as preferred channels of information and communication, active participation in civil life and local environment, the offer of different activities for seniors. The general idea and innovation in the process is to build the common platform and the best quality of communication with seniors. The case when this group of people is involved in decision making process and gives their opinion is crucial to create the active civil society in our region. Seniors in Gdynia differ depending of the district they live and that provoke different opinions on topics from panel and diverse needs. But in general it’s visible that seniors devote their free time to take care of relatives - seniors and/or disabled people than grandchildren. Both innovative solutions require big attention paid to build trust and good relationship between a researcher and a responder, than the real effect – solution made by the city and feedback on what happened during the whole dialogue process.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Research walks - the topic of this initiative is to encourage seniors to give their opinion regarding the public space, urban architecture-how Gdynia can improve and adapt it to be more safe and friendly to seniors and/or disabled people needs - 35 seniors, 12 volunteers took part in the pilot project in autumn 2012 searching 3 walking routes in the centre of Gdynia (from rail station to the city Hall). Civil Panel - the agenda is divided into subjects: information (how seniors would like to be informed about the policy of Gdynia, the way of information and communication, the evaluation of the existing channels - local newspaper, web page, etc), urban space (how seniors can be involved into creating the common public space which is designed in dignity of their needs), the offer of being active (voluntary offer, workshops, seniors centers, the university for seniors) - the first research sample was 454 seniors (January-May 2013). The idea of the panel is to make it the systematic tool for creating the opinion of seniors when every one year representative group of 800 to 1000 take part. As the tool it can be flexible regarding the group of responders and topics.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The idea of active communication and consulting with different groups of people has became popular in European countries. There are very good practices from Great Britain such as "Seniors Voice" in Exeter but in Poland the process of building active citizenship among different groups of people does not have the long tradition because of the previous political situation. Gdynia has became the leader of social innovation and building active participation in different aspects of life. The wide range of different methods such as civil panel, research walks are innovative because of the complexity and active involvement of different partners and users to have their say on each stage of the projects and consultation’s process. We adapted European best practices putting the big impact to local adjustment and support from Foundation for Social Innovation and Research Shipyard is extremely important at this stage. Regarding information and consultation process with seniors the quality of feedback is extremely important to keep the trust and engagement - we've used personalized invitations signed by Mayor of Gdynia and results were published and advertised to seniors from different groups.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


Implementer(s) and cooperation partners

Gdynia Municipality


Public body

Country where main implementer is located

, PM, Gdynia

How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

Gdynia actively develops its mission to build the society and the environment open for diversity, promotes the activity in social life for all groups of citizens with respect of different needs and priorities. Gdynia has the great interest for running and promoting innovative projects for the benefit of citizens aiming at increasing their level and quality of life. Particular consideration is given to groups of citizens such as : seniors, people with disability and youth, especially in the risk of social exclusion. We animate partners to create the city both more attractive and accessible.

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Cooperation partner

Gdynia Innovation Centre (GCI)


Public body

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

GCI as budgetary department of Gdynia municipality is responsible for the management of Pomeranian Science and Technology Park and realizing innovative solutions for Gdynia Citizens. GCI mission is to link and support partners from public sector, ngos and business.

Cooperation partner

Gdynia Welfare Centre (MOPS)


Public body

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

The purpose of the Social Welfare Centre is to help local residents who are not in a position to overcome difficult situations. The resort organizes and coordinates all activities for people in need of assistance in Gdynia.

Cooperation partner

Foundation for Social Innovation and Research – Shipyard



How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Actions taken by the Shipyard concentrates on 3 key issues: development of local communities, social innovations and civic participation. It's the expert organization from Warsaw with the great knowledge and experience in social innovative solutions and international cooperation on local growth.

Cooperation partner

Please select

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Approximately 50 words left (300 characters).

Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Personalized health management, Assisted daily living, Independent living solutions, Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering), Age friendly buildings, environments, and communities.

If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

From the very beginning all groups of stakeholders were involved in the action plan and piloting the tools for active communication with seniors. All activities integrated cooperation partners. Gdynia Welfare Centre as the budgetary unit of the City Hall has all data regarding the situation of seniors in difficult living conditions. Partners strongly cooperates with Gdynia Innovation Centre searching the needs of seniors, informing about the projects, recruiting volunteers and providing the specific activities. Engaging the seniors themselves (in different living situation) is the most important subject in creating the good cooperation because it's not meant to be like something created on the high level of governance but consulting and engaging seniors as users in all stages of the process is crucial. The partnership with Foundation for Social Innovation Shipyard enables to prepare, plan and evaluate the whole process from the beginning respecting the highest standards of tools and methods. As experts they can give us best practices examples from different part of Europe and advise diverse solutions tailored made for the specific situation and topic.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

Civil panel with seniors has been tasted as the first edition of interactive dialogue on the group of 454 representatives of seniors. It lasted from January 2013 to the end of May 2013. Now the detailed report is being prepared and it will be consulted with seniors in Autumn 2013 – as methodology of research the circle takes around 8-10 months.
The research walks with seniors are the innovative tool for communicating with this group of people to point good sites of urban architecture and to adjust the best solutions tailored-made to the needs of seniors and/or disabled people. As the 1st edition made in autumn 2012 it was the pilot phase but Gdynia tends to continue and develop it in the future. In the pilot phase 35 seniors took part and examined the urban space in the Gdynia Centre according to their needs and abilities. They were working with 12 young volunteers and surprisingly that also built the new intergenerational links and broke the stereotypes for both groups - seniors judging the youth and youth thinking of seniors.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for 1‐5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

complementary (your solution is complementing existing solutions and compensating their weaknesses while not intending to substitute them)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

When working on the programme and action plan of Gdynia Dialogue with seniors we have defined several barriers:
1. The difficulty of convincing the senior responder about the high importance of his/her vote in the panel. That is the reason why it's so important to build the whole communication and information strategy. Concrete results and implemented solutions after each edition of the panel leads to better engagement and motivation for seniors to be important partners for the city and important part of the society. To reach elderly people with the feedback we use different tools - local newspaper, local media, newsletter, personalized letters from mayor of Gdynia to appreciate senior participants.
2. The research group is not very open at the beginning of the project; to cope up with this - very personalized approach is crucial to build confidence and reach the groups of "non-organized" seniors.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees






External advisers and experts

Unit for Social Innovation and Research Shipyard - 5

Others (please specify)
What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

Representatives of the city and departments responsible for creating seniors' politics are professionals and practitioners. Connections and integrated activities give strength to initiative. The team is built from workers and experts representing city management, welfare care, research and ngos, so the implementation of pro- seniors innovative solutions can be visible from different sides and points of view.
Civic panel as the systematic tool is the first initiative of this kind in Poland and our intention is to build the best example and brand that can be implemented by other municipalities.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

It's very important to keep the high standards of all initiatives and coordinate them all as the whole programme of building friendly surrounding for seniors respecting diversity and promoting taking part in all aspects of social life. To coordinate above the council at the city level has been established - it works under the leadership of Gdynia Mayor , responsible for social politics and it unites representatives, researchers and experts from Welfare Centre, Gdynia Innovation Centre, Foundation for Social Innovation and Research "Shipyard".

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.

24 000 EURO

National public funding


European Union public funding


Economic return from own products/services


Foundations and philanthropy capital


Single donations from private individuals


Donations from private companies


Crowdfunding platforms


Participation fees


Other (please specify)


Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

Our target group is estimated as seniors - but not generally because we very much try to combine the group of seniors and reach people with specific needs and conditions: it's crucial to reach out disabled, with difficult financial situation, with different needs but also active groups volunteering and convincing their energy to build local society. Also the diversity (in social and economic situation, education, life experience) of seniors is visible regarding the specific city districts and that allows to be more flexible when reaching particular groups od elderly people.

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.


In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

Gdynia policy towards seniors was presented on several national and international conferences asgood practice of sistematic tool

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

Gdynia adjusts its policy towards seniors by:
1. dialogue as the process of building active participation in social live
2. dialogue as the tool for comprehension and tolerance in society
3. giving the possibility to express seniors' opinion about social and urban aspects of living conditions in Gdynia - as the result it implements better security politics and modification of urban space - eg. reconstruction of bus stops, benches and public toilets
Educational dimension is significant for the city - it learns how to devise services coming out of citizens needs and expectations.

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

Gdynia works on setting up the dialogue as a permanent and systematic mechanism of policy towards seniors. The key tools to do so:
1. Civic Panel as consultation and interactive dialogue about social and health care, prefered channels of information, active participation in civil life and local environment,
2. Research Walks - the tool to diagnose urban space with active participation of seniors -
Based on above, Gdynia's impact is to achieve the high level of active citizenship according to the strategic policy - further development of the Gdynia policy for seniors.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

We've already achieved:
1. the data base of seniors living in Gdynia - different groups such as disabled, chronically ill, lonely, with difficult economic situation to the opposite site - healthy, active, engaging their time for others; diversity depending strongly on districts of Gdynia
2. Concrete solutions regarding urban space - how to adapt it to the needs od seniors
3. Dialogue with seniors as the long term process building engagement and giving the real impact on seniors' active citizenship.

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Self-evaluation (you used qualitative and/or quantitative methods to assess impacts), External evaluation of impacts based on qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, etc.), External evaluation of impacts based on quantitative methods (quantitative measurement of impact indicators).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Organisational structure, Information on team members, Evaluation report, Financial report, Activity report, Working method and 'theory of change'.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

For Gdynia local authorities it's extremely important to create appropriate conditions for seniors to take part in the decision making process regarding issues on local society development.
Mile stones -dialogue with seniors as long term process aimed to:
- develop new areas of research and consultation in order to better redistribution of public founds
- develop better information about the social change to seniors – concrete solutions provided by the municipality
-create the social map of the city with places of the great need of support, regions safe and attractive but also avoided.