Ventspils - A Senior Citizen-friendly Town

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Ventspils - A Senior Citizen-friendly Town

Ventspils , Latvia
Organization type: 
government
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Ventspils emphasizes the wellbeing of people from different generations. The development is planned to ensure that all individuals feel welcomed.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

One of the most important social groups in Ventspils is senior citizens, totaling more than 8,600 or 23 % of the total population. Senior citizens take an active role in social and economic life; therefore it is essential to provide the necessary infrastructure. The work towards a complete social inclusion has to be complex and integrated. In order to make it work there are many stakeholders involved and their work needs to be coordinated. The main coordination is done by the City council.

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

Ventspils City Council's approach is to plan and coordinate city's development (including the work of local government companies and partners) so that it is all inclusive and all of our citizens can freely participate in the city's life. It is a well-established system in which all the processes and stakeholders involved work in harmony towards achieving the set goals.
Impact: How does it Work

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

The local council in cooperation with the aforementioned partners has implemented several projects, such as: 1) A special support program that has been developed to help senior citizens leave their homes. 2) Wheelchair-accessible public transport and buildings. 3) Specially designed street infrastructure: traffic lights with audible signals, in many areas the sides of pavements have been brightly marked, wheelchair-accessible pavements in accordance with universal design principles and, where necessary, road sign poles have been brightly marked. 4) The local council has also landscaped parks and created footpaths that senior citizens use for walking, hiking or other physical activities. Open-air gym equipment has been installed in the parks which senior citizens can use to keep fit. Authorities also promote the participation of senior citizens in amateur groups, traditional dance evenings and sporting events, from cycling to orienteering, street basketball, beach volleyball, football, chess and other games. All these educational, cultural and sporting activities aim to promote communication between generations and the passing on of knowledge to young people.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Our aim is to ensure that all of our seniors feel they are a valued part of the community and that ageing can be active, beautiful and respected.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The Ventspils City Council within the means of yearly budget and by attracting EU and other funds will continue further implementation of this policy - providing the opportunities for our citizens to take an active part in society and to participate in political, economic, cultural and other social activities and also feel as a valued part of the community.

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

Ventspils City Council and its partners are the only implementers of the aforementioned solutions and projects. There are no competing solutions; only partners who help us achieve our goals.
Team

Founding Story

The City of Ventspils achieved the third place at the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations Award in the category of Towards Age Friendly Environments. BUT the biggest reward is seeing our senior citizens actively participating in educational, cultural and sporting activities, as well as being the voice at forums, meetings with the local government and hearing their appreciation for the work already done.
About You
Visit website
About You
First Name

Didzis

Last Name

Osenieks

Implementer(s) and cooperation partners
Name

Ventspils City Council

Type

Public body

Country where main implementer is located

, VSL, Ventspils

How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

The Ventspils' City council has chosen to place the wellbeing of older generations at the center of its town development process, in order to ensure that seniors feel they are a valued part of the community. From increased wheelchair accessibility, to organized social events, to free fitness classes, Ventspils brings active ageing and solidarity between generations directly to its citizens.

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Cooperation partner
Name

The Social Service of Ventspils City Council

Type

Public body

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

The Social service manages and organizes the distribution of social help and services to the citizens of Ventspils. It also works hand in hand with NGOs and organizations that provide social services, as well as oversees the work of our older people's home "Selga". Selga is a home for our seniors.

Cooperation partner
Name

Municipal organization "Komunala parvalde"

Type

Public body

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

Municipal organization "Komunala parvalde" is directly involved in improving city's infrastructure (streets, walkways, traffic lights, parking spots etc.) and also in making it more pedestrian, including senior citizen friendly, i.e. low or no edge pavements, traffic lights with audible signals etc.

Cooperation partner
Name

Olympic center "Ventspils" Ltd.

Type

Public body

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

Olympic center operates the biggest sports infrastructure in Ventspils. All of its sports centers are accessible for the public; especially the elderly and they offer activities for all ages. Often sports activities are organized at low or not cost and our seniors love it.

Cooperation partner
Name

Municipal Ltd. "Ventspils reiss"

Type

Public body

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

Municipal Ltd. "Ventspils reiss" runs the public transportation system in the town and operates with low-floor buses thus making them accessible for the public, particularly the elderly and people in wheelchairs. Ticket price discounts for elderly are also available.

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

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.

Our partners are the implementers of the strategy outlined by the City Council.

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

Our aspirations have been rewarded: the City of Ventspils achieved the third place at the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations Award in the category of Towards Age Friendly Environments.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for more than 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?

Our only barrier could NOT be doing what we are doing. The work towards infrastructure improvements by employing council and EU funding will continue so that our citizens have the opportunity to take an active part in society and to participate in political, economic, cultural and other social activities.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees

more than 500

Volunteers

-

Trainees

25

External advisers and experts

5

Others (please specify)

-

What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

The implementers of this initiative/policy all are professionals in their respective fields, but their most valued competencies are the ability to adapt the environment and the infrastructure (like the open-air gym equipment) to meet the needs of the handicapped, senior citizens, young moms etc.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

The coordination and supervising of this policy is carried out by the deputy chairman of Ventspils City Council - Didzis Ošenieks. Decisions are made at various City council committees, two most relevant are the committee of the City Development and committee of Social Affairs. Tasks are assigned to our stakeholders, like the Komunala parvalde, Social service, and Ventspils reiss, Olympic Center Ventspils etc. where their leaders delegate the tasks and introduce the vision to their specialists (implementers of the policy). The concluding part of the structure is other employees, trainees etc.

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

3 037 800 EUR

National public funding

66%

European Union public funding

20%

Economic return from own products/services

0

Foundations and philanthropy capital

0

Single donations from private individuals

0

Donations from private companies

0

Crowdfunding platforms

0

Participation fees

0

Other (please specify)

14% (Norwegian funds)

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

Ventspils’ council emphasizes the wellbeing of people from different generations, especially our senior citizens. The development is planned to ensure that all individuals (all ages, genders, financial means etc.) feel they belong to the town.

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

more than 8 000 senior citizens

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

Ventspils city

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

Our aim is to ensure that all of our seniors feel they are a valued part of the community and that ageing can be active, beautiful and respected.

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

To promote communication between generations and the passing on of knowledge to young people and also encourage understanding, tolerance and respect, reducing stereotypes and prejudice.

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

The City of Ventspils achieved the third place at the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations Award in the category of Towards Age Friendly Environments. BUT the biggest reward is seeing our senior citizens actively participating in educational, cultural and sporting activities, as well as being the voice at forums, meetings with the local government and hearing their appreciation for the work already done.

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Experience-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on your experiences with the target group), Feedback-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on feedback from the target group without using specific methods).

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

Organisational structure, Information on team members, Activity report.

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.

1) To support orphan children out-of-home care and enable the development of foster families, adoptions etc. in Ventspils;
2) To continue improving city’s infrastructure (public transportation, adapting apartment homes for persons with disabilities, sports infrastructure’s further adapting to meet the needs of handicapped people, i.e. the swimming pool, aquapark etc.);
3) Improving and further developing the home care service.