The project Re-Start seeks social change in the city of Rimavská Sobota and in the entire surrounding region. The project Re-Start is supported by the ACF – Slovakia, which is funded from the EEA Financial Mechanism 2014-2021. Naša Sobota civic association received a grant for the project in the amount of € 39,327. The aim of the project is to increase the interest of citizens in decision-making within the city, deepen their engagement in public affairs and broader social issues. The project also includes the involvement of local activists and public officials in the project activities.
During the year, we have successfully organized four two-day educational trainings for civic activists/leaders and local public officials. Thematically, they focused on skills in involving local communities in public affairs and decision-making, communication in conflict, facilitation (meeting management) and recognition of manipulations in public space. A total of 72 participants took part in them.
Since September last year, we have organized several public discussions on various civic topics. So far, we have organized 5 discussions on the following topics: “Buď súčasťou rozhodnutí” (on the participatory budgeting), “Územný plán: základ pre rozvoj mesta” (about the zoning plan), “Zeleň v meste” (about the greenery in the city), “Ja/smeti/mesto” (about the waste management) and “Auto vs. bicykel” (about non-motorised transport). The discussions addressed over 70 active citizens.
Furthermore, we have written the Principles of Participatory Budgeting for Rimavská Sobota, according to which its first year is successfully running at the moment. The Generally Binding Regulation on the Provision of Subsidies from the city budget was enlarged by them. We have used the Act on Free Access to Information to find out how the process of updating of the Rimavska Sobota zoning plan, approved by the city deputies, is progressing. Subsequently, we have organized a workshop to update the zoning plan. The result of the workshop was submitted as an official civic initiative of the Naša Sobota civic association in cooperation with the civic association Odvážme sa zrýchliť to update the zoning plan. A mobile application „Moja Sobota“ was being prepared. Its main objective is to inform the public and make it to be more involved in public afffairs in the city.
Moreover, the LídeRS programme has successfully taken place. It was attended by active students of the grammar school in Rimavská Sobota, was successful. Students identified problems in their surroundings and developed projects that tried to solve them. At the beginning, 17 participants signed up. Finally, nine participants, divided into three teams, implemented three small projects at the school over a period of five months: Eko-project, Valentine’s prom, The School Decoration Project. The Eco-project sought to raise awareness of the flooding with planet plastics, especially oceans with plastics. During this project, plastics were collected at school in order to reduce their volume at school. The Valentine’s prom responded to the need of young people who wanted to have fun and spend time together. Most of the profit from the entrance fee went to charity and the second part as a basis for the next year of the ball. The aim of The School Decoration Project was to make the school space more beautiful, pleasant with motivational and inspiring quotes. Sources for the realisation were obtained from the sale of small items on the Christmas bourse in the school.
In the autumn, the next session of the LídeRS program will continue, along with other public discussions at Kruháč. We expect the launch of the „Moja Sobota“ application, which will make it easier for citizens of Rimavska Sobota to get involved in public affairs and eventually, they might become more active and have an interest in broader social issues.