One of the important forms of including seniors into the decision-making process within the local government are Senior Councils. However, according to the nationwide study conducted as part of the project by the “Society of Creative Initiatives ‘ę'” and the Shipyard Foundation, many of the already existing Senior Councils are barely active, while the members are eager to do more. Reasons for this low level of engagement are primarily insufficient knowledge or skills from the City Council members, lack of support from the local government, as well as the lack of knowledge on how to successfully reach other members of the community and inform them about Council’s initiatives. We have asked individuals from 114 municipalities in Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship whether there exists a strategy for the senior policy, or a strategic document that comprehensively addresses initiatives for the improvement of life of the local seniors. Only 11% of our respondents answered “yes.”
We will address these issues by supporting the municipal Senior Councils from Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship to allow them to develop their operations, consultations and drive new initiatives for inclusion and engagement of the elderly. As part of our project, we will conduct a series of workshops and a two-day networking seminar for at least 80 councilmembers from different municipalities. Together, we will design local strategies for senior policies for three selected municipalities, including the best practices in civic engagement. The project will conclude with the implementation of the strategy through a realization of at least three senior initiatives. On the basis of our experiences, we will design a guidebook for Senior Councils and local governments promoting our methodology and the best practices in the field of designing and implementing local, senior policy. The publication will be sent to all local governments in Poland.