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Positive Agritude – social integration through agriculture

A project for rehabilitation of vulnerable people in farming receives funding by the European Commission
  • December 12, 2018 19:30, 504 impressions
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
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A project, funded by the European Commission, entitled “Positive Agritude” goes in a longstanding tradition in Belgium in integrating people with disabilities through farming. The social farming consists of providing small volunteer jobs to people with disabilities on farms, facilitating their social inclusion.

A specialized Wallonian hospital has been awarded European funding for such a project which is taking place between 2017 and 2019 in Lierneux, south-east of Liege. The Hospital centre in Lierneux was founded back in 1884 and is famous for its work in psychiatry, but provides services in mental health, geriatrics, rehabilitation, accommodation of elderly as well.

The balance of the project so far shows that 13 farmers have been involved in the scheme, working in a total of 12 connected farms. The job takes one day a week and is supervised and facilitated by two representatives of the hospital staff, recruited in 2017 for the project.

In addition to the benefits of social integration for persons with disabilities however, there is a positive upshot for the farmers: not only do they get an assistant, but a company and someone to talk to and transfer know-how and thus –avoid solitude. Through ordinary activities such as feeding, cleaning, trimming a hedge, participants enter in contact with nature and create friendships.

The project has objectives with longer term, which should be achieved until 2022, including the creation of sustainable network of participating farms, designing a specially-adapted tutoring scheme in cooperation with agricultural partners, and raising the profile of social agriculture in Wallonia.

The project is funded by EAFRD with EUR 258 037.50 and through National/Regional funding of EUR 233 462.50.

Source : ENRD