Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain
in the Autumn for a month or so

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Thursday, 28 June 2012

"Cadena de favores" / Voluntary work for benefits

Mazarrón Council is studying an initiative developed in the town of Onda (Castellon, Valencia Region) whereby a 'chain of favours' is developed for those receiving public social assistance to address a variety of needs and potential benefits for society in general.

Basically what the Onda scheme involves is that those [unemployed] persons in receipt of benefits from the community agree to contribute, on a 'voluntary' basis, their time and skills in order to help others in the community who need assistance of one kind or another. The idea is both to give the person in receipt of monetary assistance a sense of worth and dignity by occupying their time usefully and to assist the community in providing help to those who need it, for example the elderly or disabled who need help with such things as accompanying them on medical visits, running errands for them (presumably doing food shopping and similar) or changing their library books, or of assisting with the monitoring of natural sites, etc.

The Council stresses that such activities are not designed to replace paid employment for some of those services already being provided, but are akin to voluntary activities for the good of the community as a whole and will aim to match up the skills of those doing the volunteering with activities that can help the community in a practical way. Given the uncomfortably high unemployment rates in Spain overall and most alarmingly for younger people, this sounds as if it could be a scheme that, properly organised and administered, could have wide-ranging benefits in 'social cohesion', probably something that risks breakdown in the current desperate economic situation. Let's see how this scheme develops in coming months.

Source: Cadena de favores - laopiniondemurcia.es

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