Would you like to know whether you are permitted to operate a public workshop and tool lending library in the Czech Republic, or where you can find a food festival with traditional specialties for old and young, or what “šufánek” means? Then keep reading! The fall collection of 12 Living Communities projects highlights people who are engaging their neighbors in making their towns and villages better places to live.
Let’s go on a walk and get to know one another
Rašov, South Moravia region
Marcela, a very active citizen in the small town of Rašov, and other residents and friends of the town want to build an interpretative path to encourage interaction between people. The path will serve as a venue for pleasant weekend outings into nature for young and old and also give children and visitors a chance to learn about the town’s history and local nature. Resting points along the path and interpretative signs are planned along with an allee of trees, where families can plant a tree and subsequently care for it. The project aims to encourage communication, cooperation and good neighborly ties between local residents.
Neighborly help in Olomouc
OLOMOUCKÁ DÍLNA, z. s. (Olomouc Workshop)
Olomouc, Olomouc region
The Olomouc workshop wants to invite all Olomouc residents with the courage to create to a new series of wood and metal workshops where people can exchange experience and learn from and work with each other. A new group, Neighborly help, has formed, where people can offer or ask for help with repairs in apartments, homes or gardens. They will be able to use the public workshop, borrow tools and help each other. The founders of the workshop have found that people are interested in crafts and handiwork and want to repair and create, but they lack tools, space and/or advice or an experienced mentor. The Olomouc workshop works with local organizations such as the Children and Youth House, Palacky University, Scouts as well as retired craftspeople who want to share their experience.
Transforming an abandoned meadow into a community place
Hlízovský unikátní spolek (Hlízov Unique Association)
Hlízov, Central Bohemia region
The Hlízov Unique Association wants to work with other local NGOs and individuals to transform an unused meadow into a community space. It will involve people in planning and planting two linden trees of freedom and installing a cross, an interpretative sign and a bench to create a place for people in nearby villages to meet, commemorate historical anniversaries and revive traditions together. It will serve as a place for people of all ages to gather, get to know each other and their town and be proud of what their forefathers (and mothers) developed.
Turn the book
P.A.K.O., Příležitostná Asociace Kulturního Obrození, z.s. (Occassional Assocation of Cultural Renaissance)
Dolany-Pohořany-Véska, Olomouc region
An active group of people from the P.A.K.O. association want to build mini-libraries in their neighborhood to enable people to exchange books. The broader aim is to engage local volunteers, give long-time and newer residents a chance to interact, and supplement the insufficient collection of the public library. The association will then hold small events at different sites to support literacy and art among residents, e.g. readings, book clubs, book markets, workshops, exhibitions and screenings and musical evenings.
A series of four seasonal events in the town orchard
Chudčice, Brno-venkov, South Moravia region
A group in Chudčice on the edge of the city of Brno is rejuvenating an orchard and its community. It plans on adding benches, a gazebo and other site amenities and holding community gatherings under the theme of “A year in the orchard”. Spring will feature a celebration of Easter and nature awakening from dormancy, with installation of birdhouses; in summer there will be a sleepover with stargazing, a competition in scything and identification of trees with local experts; fall will bring an apple harvest festival with juicing, a strudel competition and a lantern parade; in winter trees will be decorated with bird treats and there will be an exhibition of residents’ old photos in the local cultural hall.
Kyjov, South Moravia region
Kyjov šufánek (which means “ladle” in the local dialect) is a project to share and preserve local gastronomic heritage. The kitchen at the KoCKy community center will be equipped to enable cooking classes featuring traditional recipes and regional specialties, all aiming to encourage young and old residents to connect over a stove or plate of good food. There will also be healthy cooking classes and presentations, instruction on canning, as well as a big community event for young and old to spread the word about the new classes.
We love Podkozí: Building friendly neighborly ties
Přátelé Podkozí, z. s. (Friends of Podkozí Association)
Podkozí, Central Bohemia region
Friends of Podkozí is an association composed of several active neighbors, their husbands, children and friends, who love their small village. Their credo is ‘if we want it, we have to make it ourselves’. Now the groups wants to develop a corner of the village commons as a community gathering place, and secondly to move the local playing field to a new site where people can enjoy campfires without bothering residents. They will invite everyone to join them in making these two places better for the whole village.
Neighborhood Clubhouse Revived
A group of 20 families from the Jižní město housing estate in Prague is founding the first neighborhood clubhouse in this area and wants to involve other residents in equipping it and making it come alive. The group will hold regular yet diverse activities for groups and individuals for people of various ages, run by different participants, with the aim of giving people a chance to implement their own ideas for activities, events, workshops, discussions, screenings, etc. The long-term goal is to change the character of the housing estate from anonymous to friendly and neighborly.
Dobrá společnost (Good Society Association)
Chotěboř, Highlands region
The Good Society Association wants to create a community gathering place in the ground floor of a protected monument building on the main square of the town of Chotěboř. The space will include a café, shop with local products, bookstore, packaging-free shop and workshop. It will serve as a space for cultural events, exhibitions, informal info-center for tourists focusing on sustainable tourism and distribution point for vegetable farm products. Ideally, Stop194 will serve as a “collector of ideas” for improving life in the town. The group’s activities will also spill out into the square itself with festivals, guided walks and outdoor exhibitions.
“Zvěřinec” Menagerie in Zlin
Lukov, South Moravia region
“Zvěřinec” is a group of people from the Zlín region who care about the local cultural scene. The group holds cultural, social and community events with a cohesive dramaturgical thread. Zvěřinec leads efforts to revitalize community life, meet new people, build on their roots by bringing people together around culture and social events.
People in Place, Place in People
Skřivaň, Central Bohemia region
This project is part of realizing a vision of a good, contented life for all people in the municipality of Skřivaň. Through the project, residents will repair and maintain a church in the town, which is closed most of the year, and open it up for special events. The group also plans on improving the area around the church, planting trees and bushes and installing benches and tables. It will hold a public collection to raise money to fix a broken window and other minor maintenance and involves other residents in the planning and work to strengthen people’s tie to their community.
Together in Bedřiška
Ostrava, Moravia-Silesia region
The future of twenty long-time residents in Bedřiška, a tiny village in the Ostrava region, is very uncertain. Local councilors consider the area a problematic excluded locality and want to relocate the residents and demolish the entire settlement. Local residents have a different vision. After many difficult years of (co)-existence, the community, comprised of Roma and non-Roma, is beginning to work together and has the potential to develop healthy neighborly ties. If they are able to save their homes, they may have a chance to do just that.