The project addresses the problem of social exclusion of senior citizens. People 60+ make up as much as 29% of Gdynia’s population (CSO). A problem that many of them face is loneliness. Seniors live in one-generation households – as many as 1/3 of them live alone. They rarely participate in social life and often lack confidence in themselves and their abilities. Data from the Regional Volunteer Centre in Gdansk shows that 15% of seniors are interested in volunteering and 2% initiate grassroots activities. Lack of activity is also due to lack of knowledge, and the problem is compounded by digital exclusion, which makes it difficult to access information on social activities. At the same time, there is still a lack of activities for seniors that build on their potential and are inclusive.
As part of the project, senior citizens took part in a number of workshops and development meetings, including psychological meetings “Discover your potential and activities”, a computer course to improve their Internet skills and “Plan, organise and act!” workshops on the implementation of social initiatives. Several meetings of the Personal Development Group dealt with topics such as non-verbal communication, assertiveness, conflict resolution. As a result, four local mini-initiatives were prepared and implemented by seniors, including excursions, music classes and themed meetings. Project participants took part in meetings with 5 city institutions that provide services to people 60+ (e.g. the Crisis Intervention Centre, the Senior Citizens’ Activity Centre), as well as in 8 integration meetings, thanks to which they benefited from the city’s cultural offer. An important element of the project was 6 so-called “Exchange Festivals” for integration and the exchange of skills and services. Project participants also benefited from individual psychological support and assistance in using new technologies.
Thanks to their participation in the project, 34 people 60+ from Gdynia, Gdańsk and Sopot increased their social activity and created a self-help support network. They increased their confidence in their abilities and motivation for social activities, and developed their competences in planning and implementing social activities, as well as in using new technologies. An important element was also the participation of young volunteers acting as assistants, thanks to which the project served to exchange experiences and intergenerational integration.