On March 21-22, 2023, Social Economy Mission to Poznań took place as part of the project
“Strengthening Social Economy for Innovative and Resilient Regions – SOCRATES”. The study visit
aimed to learn about the practices of social economy entities in Poznań and to serve the direct
exchange of experience with social partners. The visit was attended by partners implementing the
project together with representatives of social economy entities in their countries.
During the first day, the first progress meeting was held. During the meeting, the project’s
implementation to date and next steps were discussed. After the meeting, the participants went to
the “nice things” workshop. The participants listened to a presentation about the place, activities
undertaken for the benefit of Poznan social economy entities. In this workshop people can get to
know products and handicrafts created by local social economy. It’s also focused on information and
educational activities. It is a place for meetings, workshops and seminars on the subject of social
economy. The studio is hosting people working in this sector and organize events, which allow them
to establish business contacts. The partners discussed the solutions used in their countries, and the
places where networking of institutions with organizations and entities takes place in their cities
were mentioned. In addition, solutions and positive practices applied so far in Poznań to promote
and develop the social economy were discussed.
At the end of the first day, a workshop was organized to which local social economy actors were
invited. In addition to those participating live, local entities from Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary
joined in an online format. The topic of the workshop was the issue of creating a local action plan for
the development of social economy. The discussion was led by a representative of the “Barka”
Foundation for Mutual Help. This organization is one of the largest entities dealing comprehensively
with social economy activities, employment of people at risk of social exclusion and social and
professional activation, as well as reintegration. During the conversation, differences between the
partners’ perceptions of the social economy were highlighted. In Croatia and Slovenia, it is seen
through the prism of its positive impact on the environment and community. In Poland, by its origins,
it is an inseparable part of social welfare. Attempts were made to find points of connection between
cities, as well as to consider how, new practices can be implemented at home.
The second day was devoted to direct visits to the headquarters of NGOs that run social enterprises.
The first of these was Pracownia ArtZagroda – a social cooperative. The main purpose of their activity
is to carry out activities involving the adaptation of people who are socially excluded or at risk of
exclusion. Activities are carried out involving readaptation assistance to readapt a sick person, people
who are periodically isolated from natural social life or disabled people to active, independent life in
society and to work. During the visit, the partners learned where the cooperative gets its profit and
why it is called a social economy entity in Poland. At the end, we ourselves became participants in
such workshops – everyone had the opportunity to paint their own picture.
Next was a visit to the Invisible Street – a place whose purpose is to sensitize visitors to the problems
and difficulties associated with the lives of blind people. This entity employs people at risk of social
exclusion. During the visit, visitors were able to feel like blind people, performing activities of daily
life, such as shopping or trying to enter public transportation.
The last point was a visit to the headquarters of the “Barka” Foundation for Mutual Help. The day of
the visit included a joint barbecue and refreshments to celebrate the first day of spring. Partners,
together with residents of Social Integration Centers and refugees from Ukraine. Barka presented a
wide range of activities conducted as Wielkopolska Center for Solidarity Economy. Food was also
prepared by the “Common Table” social cooperative.