In mid-April, we supported another fifteen projects from across the entire Czech Republic where people are engaging their neighbors in community improvement efforts. In the second round of Living Communities this year, we awarded grants totaling $34,013. The jury selected a very diverse spectrum of projects from among the 70 applications. We are thrilled that there are so many people in the Czech Republic who are eager to make their communities more vibrant!
The selected projects received grants of up to $3,762, a series of educational workshops, mentoring and in some cases a fundraising consultant. This multi-pronged support is our hallmark and aims to increase the self-sufficiency of the community initiatives.
What projects did we support?
The range of issues addressed by the supported projects is diverse: revitalizing river banks, maintaining a bio-corridor, initiating a traffic calming zone, gathering historical photos and postcards, developing a neighborhood ‘living room’ in a local library, restoring the grave of a famous opera singer and organizing neighborhood farmer’s markets and gatherings. The projects will be implemented in towns across the Czech Republic. In comparison to the first round of Living Communities in January, there are many more projects in and around Prague (seven in all).
The most important criteria in project selection was the extent of community engagement and collaboration between different actors (local government, non-profit organizations, etc.) We also sought out new ideas and emerging projects where program support serves as an initial investment into long-term changes.
The Collaborative Collective Association is one of the Prague-based organizations that was awarded a grant. It will build bat, bee and insect shelters around a biotope (pond) that is part of the central Prague bio-corridor. Environmental design students will collaborate on the design and the local community will be invited to participate and help maintain the shelters. The project also includes development of a sleeping shelter for homeless people.
Another one of the supported projects is a self-service boat rental in Černošice, a town located just south of Prague that lies adjacent to the river Beroun. The banks of the Beroun River are one of the few open spaces in Černošice. Members of the local Ference Futurista club came up with the idea of building and operating a mobile self-service boat rental on the river banks to encourage local people to get together.
At the other end of the country, in the Vizovice highlands, a group is renewing a long-forgotten tradition – community wool-spinning evenings. The project is intended to build relations between residents while utilizing an overlooked local resource: sheep wool.
We are very pleased that Jablotron Foundation has become the program’s regional partner in the Liberec region, which enabled us to support the project Recy-flea market. The aim of this project and the organization behind it – ArtproProstor – is to use the topic of recycling and sharing to involve local people into restoration of the art deco baths in Jablonec nad Nisou.
That is just a taste of what we were able to support with your help in the spring round of Living Communities. You can read about all fifteen of the projects here: Living Communities 2017, Round 2.