Village Services

1,000 Euro Prize 2012

Country: Austria

Region: Carinthia

Sector: Public administration

Fields of action: Health

Project owner: Haushalts-, Familien- und Betriebsservice

Responsible person: MMag. Alice Ebenberger

Website: Weblink

What is it about?

In what is now a total of 12 municipalities in the district of Spittal/Drau, six returnees to the labour market coordinate the efforts of up to 100 volunteers from all social classes who offer services to around 700 clients: driving them to doctor’s appointments, doing their shopping, paying them visits, babysitting their children and offering other support services. The services are provided free-of-charge to the widely scattered inhabitants of the region, are readily available, and can be easily requested. The volunteer helpers (75% women, 25% men) are insured, have their transport costs reimbursed, and receive professional support. In this way, the majority publicly funded village service strengthens community-based structures and acts as an engine for additional regional projects.

Appreciation of the Jury

The village service jumps in if help is needed. It is flexible and unbureaucratic, acting as a social hub, linking communities in a network and facilitating participation. Enquiries are made into what the communities need and concrete needs are addressed. A professionally managed framework gives backup to the volunteers, security to the people seeking help, and space for social development to the region. This combination is, we hope, an effective remedy against emigration. If the public sector would clearly commit itself financially, geographical expansion would be easier. We hope the SozialMarie 2012 will be of help in that.