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Community Volunteering Council (S.K.E)

In November 2005 an upgraded body of social care addressed to the 12 communities of the Kourris-Xylouriko valley (Alassa, Apaisia, Korfi, Limnari, Kapileio, Agios Mamas, Trimiklini, Lania, Doros, Monagri, Agios Georgios, Sylikou) began its operation in the area. The Community Volunteering Council (S.K.E) of the Kourris – Xylouriko complex was the result of the merging of three smaller Councils, those of Apaisia, Alassa and Limnati. The Community Councils of the 12 aforementioned communities decided to join forces and create a new and upgraded body of social care within their geographical territory. Their partnership resulted in the establishment of the Community Volunteering Council of the Kourris – Xylouriko Complex which is based in the community of Limnati, where it is still housed until today. 

The community of Limnati is a community which is quite sensitive as far as social contribution issues are concerned. From the very first moment of the merging and the establishment of this body, the community has actively supported the work of the Council by offering assistance whenever necessary (e.g. during various events men and women join forces and support the work in progress no matter which community is hosting the event etc.).

The Community Volunteering Council of the Kourris – Xylouriko complex is a volunteering body of community care taking initiatives to support, raise awareness and mobilise the citizens of the local community. Its primary objective is to decentralise social services through action schemes which will benefit the entire community.  These actions are to be flexible and be able to respond to the social needs of the residents who should be seen as mere recipients but also as collaborators in the developing process and the planning of social policies.

In particular, the Council implements productive schemes which offer social services to all age groups (parents, children, teenagers, youngsters, families and elderly people): 

Offered Services:

Home food delivery, which operates five times a week. The preparation of the food is done in the building where the Council is housed before being delivered using a vehicle provided by the service to the people of all the communities of the Kourris-Xylouriko  complex who are eligible according to the scheme. This action provides food to approximately 50 people per month.   

• Home care is provided according to the needs and the hours offered to recipients of state welfare. Five families receiving state welfare are served through this scheme, while several other families who are in need of home care by a private caregiver (meaning the caregiver is a person of their own choice) are monitored.

• The Nursery School, which is addressed to children between 0-5 years old, began its operation in September 2008 and is located in the community of Alassa. The School’s main objective is to provide care, healthy occupation, as well as educate the children while at the same time supporting families living in the countryside by helping working parents and by encouraging women-mothers to return to work or remain in their posts. As a result of all the above, new families are given the opportunity to remain in their villages taking advantage of the facilities and services offered, as well as of the equal opportunities provided in comparison with large urban centres. This programme served 10 children in 2009, with the prospect of an increase in the number of children during the upcoming school year.

• The Women empowerment programme has been funded by the Ministry of Law and Justice’s Women’s Rights Mechanism and it began in June 2008 with a series of experiential workshops, lectures and other activities and events which aimed at raising awareness and engaging the residents of the area so as to face, through good practices, issues including: marital relationships, parent – children relationships, self-improvement, self-image, stress management, sexual life issues, rights and obligations, professional life issues etc. As a result, more than 100 women from all the communities benefited from the programme which, although temporary, is from time to time continued through various educational seminars and workshops related not only to the above but to other social issues as well.    

The Community Volunteering Council’s social services have managed to improve the residents’ quality of life in the wider area by giving them both motives and the means to remain in their villages and homes (without having the fear of social isolation). Moreover, these services have relieved families from some of their multiple responsibilities since nowadays they do not have the dilemma of whether they should work or stay at home and look after their children. 

Apart from the provision of all the above services, the Community Volunteering Council has managed to:

• Raise awareness and involve volunteers from all 12 communities in the making of collective decisions regarding social issues (e.g. by participating in decision-making and actions of the Community Volunteering Council).

• Make full use of resources within its communities (e.g. personnel, acquisition of financial and material resources from all communities).  

• Make full use of programmes announced by the Human Resources Development Authority and which are addressed to unemployed women. Through these programmes, the Council has been able to give these women the opportunity to temporarily work in their community, thus gaining valuable work experience (e.g. some women worked for the Council for 4 months as assistant cooks).   

• To negotiate with state services and to claim resources for programs (e.g. the cooperation of the Council with the services of the Welfare Office).

• To organize frequent entertaining activities which were addressed to all age groups (e.g. excursions, children’s theatrical performances, events).

• To enlighten the residents on the existing services, their rights and the procedures that need to be followed by bringing them into contact with state and other services when needed.

• To organize activities aiming at preventing health problems (e.g. by organizing an Osteoporosis Test with the participation of people from all communities).

• To remain in constant and direct contact with the residents of all 12 communities by helping them identify community needs and shortages, as well as to seek viable solutions planned by the residents themselves so as to suit their own needs.

In order to achieve all the above objectives the Council has been staffed by, apart from the various volunteers who provide social care on a daily basis, paid personnel consisting of a social worker who is responsible for coordinating the programmes, a cook, a food distributor, caregivers, as well as a kindergarten and a nursery school teacher for the Nursery School. At the same time, our organization cooperates, from time to time, with various external associates (specialized in social and other issues). 

The Council’s operations aim at constantly upgrading and developing the provided social services, thus managing to prevent social problems that might arise by effectively supporting the Cypriot family.



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