For years we have been engaging inhabitants of Łódź in activities for their area, neighbourhood, and community, we have been organising activation programmes, social consultations, and offering micro-grants for local projects. But at the same time, we can see that the urban environment often promotes anonymity and isolation, especially in housing estates with high rise buildings. The pandemic has further strengthened the problem – people often close themselves at homes, and do not trust strangers.
We will change that by organising six Neighbour Activity Zones (Strefa Aktywności Sąsiedzkiej – SAS), the vision of which was created in the course of talks to Łódź inhabitants in 2020. Thanks to our partner – the Municipal Library of Łódź – we will engage six library branches in Łódź willing to establish and run SAS there. We will organise a cycle of meetings for library employees and local leaders to work on the SAS plan of action, and will try to diagnose local needs, specific tools needed for social work, and ways to engage local community. In this we will be supported by our second partner, Polsk-Norsk Forening Razem=Sammen organisation of Norway, which has vast experience in cooperating with libraries on initiatives integrating various inhabitant groups.
For each of six branches, we will analyse needs and resources, we will find out who lives there, who is already active and can help us reach others. In each zone we will conduct one local initiative addressing the diagnosed needs and implementing ideas of its inhabitants. We will organise a Neighbour Forum inviting residents, local leaders and city activists to talk about social activity, challenges related to it, and tools needed to work in the local environment. We will also publish a ‘How to create a SAS’ guide for other institutions in Poland, describing the model, as well as key examples and experience of our project in Łódź.