The Koprivnica branch of the Croatian Red Cross, in partnership with the City of Koprivnica and the volunteer organisation "Rad na dar”, coordinated an initiative called Socijalna Košarica ("Social Basket”). The 12-month "Social Basket” project was established in December 2014 to provide a new social service to the vulnerable residents of Koprivnica that have been most severely affected by the global economic crisis.
By strengthening collaboration between civil society organisations and local government, "Social Basket” aimed to improve social service provision to people at risk of exclusion. In order to build capacities among civil society staff and volunteers and increase information-sharing between NGOs, potential donors and citizens, project partners held a series of educational cycles and training sessions throughout the year.
In June, a social shop was launched at the Croatian Red Cross premises in Koprivnica, providing a safe and friendly place for the distribution of food parcels and other basic items such as hygiene products. Working in collaboration with Administrative Department of Social Affairs and Services of the city of Koprivnica, project partners established a set of criteria for the allocation of packages to ensure that they reached those most in need. The target group was thus identified as residents of Koprivnica that were receiving housing benefits, but no public nutritional support.
A network of trained volunteers collected food and other grocery donations from buyers in local supermarkets for distribution in the social shop. Since the initiative was launched, over 1,800 kilograms of mixed food items have been collected and a total of 426 packages distributed to vulnerable Koprivnica citizens. The wider community has been actively involved in the project, with forty-seven local volunteers – including high-school students, the unemployed, pensioners, and professionals with different profiles and expertise – dedicating around 750 volunteer hours.
The "Social Basket” project received financial support from the Operational Programme for Human Resource Development under the European Social Fund.
The European Social Fund (ESF) is a programme established to support access to employment, better jobs and fairer job opportunities in the 28 EU Member States. Every year, the EU offers EUR 10 billion in financial support for "investments in human capital”, awarded to public and private sector organisations providing support services in particular to those struggling to get work. For more information, project examples and contact details of national managing authorities, visit this page.