‘My community – make yourself at home’
The ‘Meine Gemeinde – Heimat für alle’ (‘My Community – make yourself at home’) project brought together local stakeholders into inclusion working groups using LEADER support to develop a range of activities promoting migrant integration.
The LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) ‘Regionalentwicklung Oberallgäu e.V.’ was approached in 2013 by Caritas Kempten-Oberallgäu to look for possible cooperation on the complex issue of social inclusion.
The timing for cooperation could not have been more opportune as summer 2013 saw the arrival
of the first refugees associated with the current wave in Kempten-Oberallgäu. This process intensified the need to work together on how the local community could deal with the new arrivals. The result was the ‘Meine Gemeinde – Heimat für alle’ project.
Citizen participation both on the LAG decision and implementation levels encourages people to take responsibility for their community, but also greater political and social engagement in projects like ‘Meine Gemeinde’.
‘Meine Gemeinde’ mobilised more than 1000 volunteers in Oberallgäu and 400 in Kempten to help with inclusion activities.
The project provided an online platform (‘Inklusionsmelder’ – inclusion detector) – to communicate existing services and examples of good practice. The platform offers information and details on the benefits of inclusion, as well as specific activities, job and training offers, and contact people.
A coordinator of the ‘Kleiderkammer’ collected and distributed clothes to refugees initially for free, but later in exchange of a small fee so that the refugees do not feel that they are receiving ‘charity’, but going shopping.
A notable feature was the number of initiatives focused on young people such as language classes and volunteers helping migrant children with their homework.