The Community in Which We Live

A program for people who want to create community places.

Through this program, citizens collaboratively improve a public space with other local residents, civic associations, companies and institutions. The aim is to support interaction between people, strengthen their ties to their community and encourage environmental stewardship.

With our support, citizens are able to:

  • transform a public space in their community with the engagement of as many local residents as possible
  • create a neutral space in which a broad spectrum of residents can interact
  • give all residents a chance to influence the outcome and co-own the project through an open planning, design and build process
  • improve communication and cooperation between residents, associations, companies and institutions in the community
  • give residents and companies an opportunity to financially support the project

We help by providing:

  • a grant of CZK 500,000
  • matching of money raised from local donors up to CZK 50,000
  • guidance by a community engagement consultant throughout the planning, design and build phases -three workshops on engagement, fundraising and community building
  • excursions to inspiring projects in other towns
  • support from Via’s program managers throughout the project

In sum, since the program began in 2001, we have:

  • helped citizens improve over 67 public spaces across the Czech Republic.
  • provided CZK 14,900,000 in grants through the program.
  • enabled over 3,000 hours of guidance by community engagement professionals.


CURRENT PROJECTS

We are guiding three projects during the 2019-2021 programming period:

  • KUNŠTÁT: A FOREST OF OPPORTUNITY
    Blansko District
    The forest adjacent to the town of Kunštát conceals a hidden treasure. The rundown 1940s-era Jelínek lodge is just a few minutes’ walk from the center of Kunštát, known mainly for its castle and traditional ceramics. The “In the Sun” civic association, a group of capable and enthusiastic young parents, operates a forest preschool in the lodge with town support. The lodge is surrounded by sun-dappled forest and extensive clearings, and complemented by several unusual buildings, including a former bowling alley. With Via’s support, the group will invite town residents to help plan the future use of the entire site and build improvements together, to create new bonds to both place and people.

  • BÍLA VODA: BAKING BREAD TO BUILD COMMUNITY
    Jeseník District
    How do you develop a community in a tiny village on the Czech-Polish border, where the 320 residents are a mix of seven different nationalities? Bíla Voda is a complex place: the original pre-war inhabitants were deported after WWII, Communists built an internment camp for nuns in the 1950s and it now houses a mental health hospital and an addiction recovery centre. The town leadership is eager to help current residents strengthen bonds to one another. It plans to use bread as the seed (or starter, in this case:)) . With Via’s support, the town will invite residents to plan and improve a garden next to the town hall, where it has just installed a bread oven and fruit drying equipment. The vision is a diverse community sharing bread, and their time and energy, to give each other strength.

  • VOTICE: OPENING A CLOISTER GARDEN
    Central Bohemia District
    The quality of the applications was so outstanding this year that despite not having funding to fully support four projects, we decided to award technical support – i.e., community engagement guidance and workshops – to a fourth project. In Votice, a cloister in the center of town had been closed for generations. A local civic association convinced the town to renovate it and now, with Via’s support, the group will engage residents in planning, redesigning and reopening the cloister garden as a central community place.

WE THANK THE FOLLOWING DONORS

Hamer Foundation
Martin Kulík

and other individual donors

MEDIA PARTNERS

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