Location: Municipality of Rucava, Latvia
Vulnerable group in focus: People with disabilities
Coordination: Diaconal Centre Liepaja, Karina Krievina
Do you speak Latvian? Visit the local blog of this micro project.
Social Start-Up Biography
On this page we want to document "How to Eat Healthy, Cheap and Tasty?" and its development into an independent social start-up. To take you with us on this journey, we update this interview diary every other month. If you have further questions, feel free to contact the local coordinator (see above). If you want to learn more about certain terms you may encounter here (such as "micro project", "social start-up", "Accelerator Team" and the like) please check our "the ideas behind the project" section.
|Choose your issue of the "How to Eat Healthy, Cheap and Tasty?" biography:
DEC 2019 FEB 2020 APR 2020 JUN 2020
Tell us about your Micro Project in three sentences!Here in Rucava (Latvia) throughout the past years, we - social service providers together with people with disabilities - co-created a recipe brochure for people with low income. The brochure is distributed through EU food boxes to people in need. During the creation of the brochure, the participants developed new skills (both in terms of cooking and compiling the brochure) and developed a sense of group identity and belonging. Now, with SEMPRE Accelerators, we want to transfer this approach to other municipalities, provide training courses and form a stable organisational structure for the initiative.
Who are the persons behind the initiative?
At the core of the project are end-users (i.e. the members of the initiative that actually developed the recipe brochure). They are accompanied by the Diaconal Centre Liepaja, by social workers from municipal social service departments as well as further support groups.
What are your long-term goals?
In SEMPRE Accelerators, we are working on three main activities. Firstly, we want to develop a training course for members of three support groups for people with disabilities in the region of Rucava who mostly receive the food packages from the EU. The course should provide complementary knowledge and skills on how to eat healthy, cheap and tasty. The training course shall consist of several sessions, each comprising both an informational part and a practical cooking activity. Secondly, we want to find out if and how the initiative can be transferred to other municipalities in Latvia. Thirdly, we intend to develop a mature organisational structure for our work to ensure that we can continue with our activities beyond SEMPRE Accelerators.
Which topics do you currently address in your start-up?
One of our core activities is offering trainings courses for support groups for people with disabilities. Through the courses these groups want to learn more about our how to eat healthy, cheap and tasty. At the end of last year we offered such a training course for the second time. During the course the parrticipants learned from a nutrionist and a medical assistant through their presentation about “alternatives for unhealthy groceries and different recipes”, but the course also included practical activities, such as a live meal preparation.
What were your recent challenges?
Our thematic focus is on cooking. However, from an organisational perspective, growing, stabilising and professionalising our initiative also requires further skills. We realized that some of our micro project members and participants had special training needs with regard to actively speaking in front of larger groups, which of course plays an important role when conducting our training courses. Against this background we organised a seminar about “speaking in public” in January which was very helpful.
What are your short-term goals for the next months?
We identified several topics on which we want to work during further training seminars with our “Accelerator Team”, in particular group dynamics and leadership as well as different methods how to involve the entire group more effectively. In the longer run, roughly until fall, we want to set up an NGO for the support groups in Rucava. Our next step is to find out more about the different options. Therefore we will contact a nearby NGO that has a similar structure and learn about their structural setup and their experiences.
Tell us about your recent achievements at "How to Eat Healthy, Cheap and Tasty?".
In our Accelerator Team, we continued with another training on speaking in public; the session was facilitated by a lecturer from the local University. This training helps the members of the support groups in our Accelerator Team to improve their skills in public speech and they learn how to present their part at the “micro project breakfasts”. Like all start-ups of SEMPRE Accelerators, we will organise such a breakfast event, which is a tool to bridge the gap between social service providers and members of the social start-ups. At this occasion, our colleagues from the support groups will inform social service providers about their start-up; so this is another reason why we do this training. Last time, one presenter from our group spoke about the history of “Ray of Hope”, the first support group here in Rucava, that was founded at the beginning of the SEMPRE project. Another speaker decided to present the recipe brochures we are working on. Apart from this training, we were just about to plan other activities, such as a job shadowing, when COVID-19 changed everything.
Speaking of the pandemic, what impact does it have on your start-up?
For us, almost all planned activities were stopped. We hope that step by step the restrictions will become less so that we can restart the planning of our training course and further activities. In the meantime, we started to work with Action Learning on a remote basis (via questionnaires and online meetings), and we hope that this way the members of our social start-up can evaluate their own activities, identify actual problems and possibly even start new activities to continue the work of the start-up and the support groups. We hope that this will encourage our start-up members to take over responsibility and develop the project despite the restrictions. Maybe we will find new solutions that we did not even think of before!
While the pandemic-related restrictions are slowly being lifted in most parts of Europe, the situation remains challenging. Still, is there anything positive that you take with you from this crisis?
Indeed, the situation is still difficult for our social start-up and its progress. However, we also received the feedback that our training course „How to eat healthy, cheap and tasty?” has been very successful and useful, especially in these times of crisis. People with low income now plan their meals and save money. They are happy that it is not necessary to invest large sums of money for eating tasty food. Moreover, people can use the information they have gained from the training course for new recipes. What is also very important in the current situation is mutual support and the sharing of ideas about how to prepare food. The participants support each other and also have more confidence to create new recipes and forms of cooking.