ASL partnership during study visits in Gijón
  • 01 July 2022

Atlantic Social Lab Extension Kick-Off Meeting

The Atlantic Social Lab (ASL) has approved an extension to continue developing its work. ASL is a project that seeks to develop and promote approaches and methods of social innovation oriented to meet the social challenges of the Atlantic Area. The project ended in May 2021 and although it has achieved many tangible results, both in the territorial implementation of social innovation practices and at the knowledge generation level, the pandemic has highlighted the gaps and weaknesses regarding social protection and inclusion policies.

The extension of the project, which started in March this year and will last until June 2023, has as the main goal to reflect and respond to these gaps. To this end, a set of pilot actions will be tested, seeking to provide services to citizens in a Covid-19 context, focusing on digitalization - identified as a common challenge throughout the Atlantic Area. This new phase of ASL is also concerned with disseminating and capitalizing the lessons and good practices achieved during the initial phase of the project.

The kick-off meeting for the ASL extension took place on June 14 and 15 in Avilés and was organized by Avilés City Council, the project lead partner. The meeting was attended by several of the original partners, such as CES - Centro de Estudos Sociais (Portugal), GCU - Glasgow Caledonian University (Scotland), Enterprise North West (Northern Ireland), in addition to the municipality of Avilés (Spain). This was also a moment to welcome and introduce the new partners joining this extension, namely, the Foundation of Social Services of Gijón (Spain) and the CRIJ Occitanie Pyrénées Mediterranée (France).

The meeting's main objective was to present the results achieved by the project in its previous phase and to establish lines of action for the work to be developed, namely concerning its goals and the presentation of the new pilot actions.

Being the Atlantic Social Lab a project focused on the development of territorial practices of social innovation, the meeting also included study visits to identify good practices. Several sites were visited. The Youth Workshop of Gijón, an interdisciplinary space where young people have free access to professional, sexual, psycho-emotional, counselling, training, study rooms and a social innovation centre. The "Second Chance School" - a school for young people at risk of social exclusion, with a focus on soft-skills and a teaching approach adapted to the students' individual needs and goals. Avilés Cultural Factory - a public space that seeks to bring the population of Avilés closer to the arts, with a particular emphasis on young people, the elderly, and people in vulnerable situations. And also the DECUCHARA project - a social restaurant that seeks the labour integration of women at risk of social exclusion.

The Atlantic Social Lab, led by Avilés City Council (Spain) is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through the INTERREG Cooperation Program Atlantic Area, with the reference EAPA_246/2016.