13 December 2023

Wellbeing and inclusion

#25yearsIBSR
Written by Elena Kolosova

Interreg transnational cooperation has brought together people and institutions across borders to work on shared societal risks and unexpected crises. By investing in health and social care and by empowering vulnerable groups, we have increased solidarity and reduced disparities. We take a look back at 25 years of Interreg Baltic Sea Region cooperation for wellbeing and inclusion.

Joining forces for the wellbeing of residents

Interreg projects have been instrumental in promoting the well-being of residents and social inclusion in the Baltic Sea region.

Teresa Marcinów, the Monitoring Committee member from Poland, Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy

“Interreg Baltic Sea Region has proven that it is better to join with partners to work on topics, such as climate, environment, transport, societal issues, and also some unexpected crises like pandemics. It is reasonable to seek solutions as a group because the expertise and tools available on a local, regional or national level are not always sufficient. It is worth investing time, effort and money in cooperation in the Baltic Sea area to bring people and institutions together. We’ve managed to encourage people to cooperate and open their minds.”

Shaping public health

In the mid-2000s, projects focused on shaping sustainable public health planning, with the support of the World Health Organisation. Project partners got enormous support from over 33000 respondents to a more bottom-up approach in public health policies emphasising participation, communication, and commitment.

Becoming more inclusive

Between 2009 and 2014, projects helped older professionals remain active in their jobs and became tutors to younger workers and start-ups.  Further, they supported women in seeking employment and leadership roles, promoting gender equality in the workplace.

Max Hogeforster, the Hanse Parliament, Germany

“I would like to mention the project Quick IGA, which stands for Innovative SMEs by Gender and Age. In this project, we established guidelines on how to increase the share of female entrepreneurship. Although the project ended in 2014, it is still very relevant today.”

Advancing social agenda

From 2016 to 2021, projects continued to advance the social agenda in the region by empowering vulnerable groups, such as elderly people, migrants, and single parents, to be active, engage in community actions, and even start their own businesses. The projects also provided access to new digital mobility solutions for elderly and young people in villages, offering transport-on-demand and rural car sharing. Projects took an innovative approach to developing new tools. Public health authorities and SMEs designed eHealth apps together with children and young people, to improve health behaviour and physical activity among adolescents. SMEs and universities collaborated to design smart furniture for elderly to enhance their life quality and independence in their home environment. Over 100 seniors and their caregivers tested these new solutions in real-home environments.

Teresa Marcinów, the Monitoring Committee member from Poland:

“Even though some regions are separated by many kilometres, they share certain challenges related to, for instance, new demographic phenomena and the necessary economic changes related to them. For example, the BaltSe@nioR project brought furniture producers, academia and senior citizens together to create better conditions for the ageing groups of society. In a similar context, we also have projects working in the health sector. The Programme helps understand that it is very important to prepare solutions in close cooperation with their potential users.”

#25yearsIBSR

This year, our Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme is celebrating its 25th anniversary. For more examples of #MadeWithIBSR project results and testimonials of great people who have helped shape the regions with us,  visit our birthday celebrations page!

Want to know more about the projects that have been facilitating wellbeing and inclusion? Flip through the project examples below:

Arts on Prescription

Arts on Prescription in the Baltic Sea Region
The project Arts on Prescription helps public authorities, cultural and health institutions engage people with mental health challenges in social and non-therapy art activities to improve their mental wellbeing.
Read more about the project

Arts on Prescription

Arts on Prescription in the Baltic Sea Region
The project Arts on Prescription helps public authorities, cultural and health institutions engage people with mental health challenges in social and non-therapy art activities to improve their mental wellbeing.
Read more about the project

BSR Cultural Pearls

Baltic Sea Region Cultural Pearls for more resilient Cities and Regions
The project BSR Cultural Pearls helps smaller cities and regions be more attractive to live in and improve their quality of life by engaging people in cultural activities and developing a stronger sense of commonship.
Read more about the project

SEMPRE

Social Empowerment in Rural Areas
In the Interreg project SEMPRE, charity organisations, trainers and universities gave social services in disadvantaged rural areas of the Baltic Sea region a new role: to empower people in need instead of offering help - this brought happiness and hope to elderly people, migrants, single parents and other vulnerable groups.
Read more about the project

OSIRIS

Supporting the Smart Specialization Approach in the Silver Economy to Increase Regional Innovation Capacity and Sustainable Growth
OSIRIS helped to accelerate the development and market uptake of innovative products and services for the elder people.
Read more about the project

Healthy Boost

Urban Labs for Better Health for All in the Baltic Sea Region - boosting cross-sectoral cooperation for health and wellbeing in the cities
Healthy Boost helped local authorities to enhance health and well-being of citizens through cross- sectoral cooperation.
Read more about the project

RESPONSE

RESPONSE - Demand-Responsive Transport to ensure accessibility, availability and reliability of rural public transport
RESPONSE helped public transport authorities to develop demand-responsive transport solutions for rural areas.
Read more about the project

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