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Poland

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8. Creativity and Culture

8.9 Enhancing social inclusion through culture

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  1. Fostering equality and young people involvement through cultural activities
  2. Combating discrimination and poverty through cultural activities

Fostering equality and young people involvement through cultural activities

Among the challenges facing the programme entitled Active forms of counteracting social exclusion: a new dimension 2020 (Aktywne formy przeciwdziałania wykluczeniu społecznemu – nowy wymiar 2020) is "the inclusion of youth environments through animation and education in the creation of space for their activity, with a particular focus on strengthening individual social competences". Under the programme, a competition titled Young people’s active attitudes and improving competences, entrepreneurship and responsibility in the dimension of their environment has been planned. This will make it possible to obtain funding for, among others, activities aimed at "developing and implementing a local programme in the field of young people’s social activation, using the potential and resources of schools, reintegration entities and local networks of community halls and youth clubs", in addition to a "programme addressed to young people, which will define preventive activities and educational proposals for acquiring social skills and for spending free time. The arranged activities concerning a specific topic will put an emphasis on using the participants’ individual preferences and abilities, as well as on education regarding the problem of addiction, both among young people and in their immediate environment". The outcome should be "the providing of conditions for developing young people’s active attitudes, and mobilising young people to organise social and neighbourhood self-help with the support of their community". The social, or even directly preventive nature of the programme is also evidenced by the fact that its funding is, in part, the responsibility of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy.

Another programme entitled Accessibility Plus (Dostępność plus) was launched in the first half of 2018. It includes the action entitled Culture, tourism and sports. The aim of the programme is to "provide people with various types of disability with opportunities to participate in cultural life, recreation and leisure on an equal footing with others". The programme enjoys many sources of funding, both public and private, as well as foreign and domestic ones, including EU funds (i.e. the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund), the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism, as well the state budget, the resources of local governments and special purpose funds). However, it should be clearly stressed that in the relevant document, young people are not identified as specific beneficiaries of the activities. A completely different approach is used with regard to this age group in the ministerial programme: Youth Joined in Action Programme for 2016-2019 (Młodzież Solidarna w Działaniu na lata 2016-2019), wherein Priority 5 was to "run youth centres based on non-governmental organisations, educational and cultural institutions, and so on, (which will provide premises, and counselling and training support for young people), and on youth NGOs and informal groups".

Combating discrimination and poverty through cultural activities

As far as combating discrimination through cultural activities is concerned, a key initiative is the National Programme for Counteracting Poverty and Social Exclusion 2020. A new dimension of active inclusion (Krajowy Program Przeciwdziałania Ubóstwu i Wykluczeniu Społecznemu 2020. Nowy wymiar aktywnej integracji). Among other things, the programme identifies measures for the social inclusion of migrants, which again, are not specifically addressed to young people, but due to the relatively highest social mobility of the young generation, may significantly impact on the situation of this age group. In particular, this concerns the building of acceptance for cultural and ethnic differences, and sensitising society to issues related to multiculturalism and ethnic diversity, as well as education and support for the leaders of migrant communities and showing them the benefits of forming associations and being active.  It also involves support for multicultural centres, in addition to encouraging participation in mainstream culture. This is another programme funded from many sources, including the state and local government budgets, and EU funds. However, it is unclear whether the Programme is still in force and what is its significance. Recent statement by the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy indicate that the Programme is still formally in force, but its enactment is not a priority of the Government. In response to a parliamentary question, it has been indicated that the Programme “is mainly a document presenting actions aimed at combating social exclusion, which at the time of its preparation were being enacted or planned within extant strategies, initiatives, legal acts and projects which, by and large, function under different accountability procedures” (e.g. under regional, ministerial or governmental programmes). Therefore, the Programme cannot be treated as a strategy that the Government is actively enacting.

As far as combating poverty through cultural activities is concernedit is worth to mention the Guidelines on activities in the area of social inclusion and combatting poverty by using European Social Fund and European Fund for Regional Development 2014-2020 (Wytyczne w zakresie realizacji przedsięwzięć w obszarze włączenia społecznego i zwalczania ubóstwa z wykorzystaniem środków Europejskiego Funduszu Społecznego i Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju Regionalnego na lata 2014-2020) ,prepared by the Ministry of Development and Finance. The document does not specify youth as a separate category and adresses the general public. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some of the guidelines have been temporarily suspended, starting from 1st of February 2020.