The SENIOR SPACE project seeks to promote the creation of communities and territories friendly to the elderly, acting on DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE, making the group of older people visible, both in decision-making and in seeking the implementation of services that treat this sector of the population as a generator of employment and not as an irreversible problem and thus facilitate a new economy linked to the silver economy.
- Enhance the contribution of older people and social organizations in the process of territorial development.
- Create friendly and inclusive environments for all people throughout their life cycle and regardless of their circumstances.
- Establish a governance model that incorporates the perspective of population ageing into local policy planning.
- Generate and propose strategies, alliances and intervention policies in favour of active ageing.
- Awareness campaigns, conferences.
- Elaboration of an Intervention Framework with the elderly
- Computer management tool, which measures the friendliness of each community.
- Website: https://www.espacioseniorextremadura.es/
- Local Action Plans in each of the municipalities.
Presentation of the project
It is a LEADER regional cooperation project that unites 6 LAGs: ADERCO, ARJABOR, LA SERENA, LA SIBERIA, TAGUS and ADESVAL (coordinator). A total of 105 municipalities in six rural territories with a population over 65 years of age of more than 20%. Three counties of Cáceres and another three of Badajoz, all with the common problem of ageing and population loss. It was developed between October 2021 and December 2022, with a view to continuity in the next 2023 – 2027 Strategy.
The location and data regarding Extremadura are:
The analysis of the economic and demographic situation of the six territories and the current context makes it possible to act: the new model of attention and care that the Junta de Extremadura is promoting is largely based on local services in rural areas. This new model, together with the transition in the care model at the national level and also in the European Union, makes us propose the project as a proposal to bring the elderly closer, not only in the object of the services, but also in the subject of what they must propose through their participation.
The project works from several perspectives:
- The World Health Organization’s (WHO) idea of active ageing.
- Governance understood as the balance of all public agents and civil society in the construction of age-friendly communities.
- The creation of local services in rural areas that allow the elderly to decide where they want to live.
- The creation of employment in rural areas, mainly through the creation of new local services in rural areas.
All of the above elements should constitute a powerful antidote to rural depopulation.
The LEADER EDLP 2014-2020 programme offers the framework and funding to be able to do so, although it has not been possible to do so at national level, it has allowed the initiative to be known and has been disseminated in several forums and conferences: RRN 16 June 2021, participation in RURALISONS L’EUROPE! UNIS DANS LA RURALITÉ, 16 MARS 2022, participation in the I Extremadura Demographic Challenge Forum or in the selection of good practices for national projects, among others.
With the results of the project, in the Alagón Valley in particular, there is already a line of work on social entrepreneurship linked to proximity services. Especially aimed at qualified women and young people, who are being excluded from our precarious labour market and in which they are only represented as employees, very scarcely as entrepreneurs with the collaboration of municipalities, SEXPE and LEADER EDLP.
The project proposes a change of outlook towards the senior world and makes them aware of the fact that they are still active people in their community, and not only as care seekers, but also as consumers of services.
It generates capacity to combat the demographic challenge and promotes strategic development for the territory of action for the following reasons:
– A methodology based on raising awareness among all the actors involved in it, giving an active presence to the elderly (social innovation).
– Public (city councils) and private collaboration represents a line of work of production of alliances and business dynamism from the commitment to the definition of new modalities of services and job creation (now refining towards collective entrepreneurship, social economy).
– It also proposes the creation of products or services with an important innovative component, such as those linked to local services.
– The municipalities and the territory will have a computer tool for registration and continuous improvement of the degree of friendliness with the elderly.
The project can be replicated in regions with significant problems of ageing and unemployment of the population, as is the case in different territories of Extremadura and Spain.
Actions to promote transferability have already been carried out: The project has been presented at regional and national meetings (NRN and ENRD) and in France. We have produced a LEADER Good Practice sheet for the NRN and the project has been included in the Social Innovation Manual.
The territories of Extremadura can see the project replicated since they present similarities in their administrative and population structure: small municipalities, aging, depopulation, portfolio of services to dependency.
However, the transfer of the project must always be carried out with the participation of the actors, of the local population, which is a hallmark of LEADER.