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Five grassroots organisations from Germany, Finland, Ireland, France and Poland win the EESC 2015 Civil Society Prize for combating poverty

The five winning initiatives present snap-shots of what is being done by thousands of voluntary groups and NGOs across Europe. Each of the projects tackles the 2015 theme “Combating poverty” in its own way and demonstrates that poverty undermines all aspects of well-being in society, including education, long-term health, housing, access to employment and family relationships.

The German organization Armut und Gesundheit in Deutschland, which provides comprehensive medical care for homeless people and the Finnish Y-Foundation, which promotes health and social welfare through provision of affordable, good quality rental housing won the first prize and were awarded EUR 11 500 each. The three initiatives from Ireland, France and Poland shared the second prize and were awarded EUR 9 000 each. Fáilte Isteach, a Third Age initiative (Ireland), is a community-based project where older volunteers welcome migrants and refugees to Ireland through giving English conversation classes. Uniterres, an initiative of A.N.D.E.S. (France), provides social and solidarity-based food shops with fresh, quality local produce sourced from local producers of fruits, vegetables, herbs and eggs. The Social Integration Centres, which are an initiative of The Barka Foundation for Mutual Help (Poland), address issues of education and vocational training for the long-term unemployed, including the disabled, former prisoners, refugees and addicts.

The five winning projects were chosen from a list of over 100 projects. Some of the initiatives are being replicated in other European countries and even beyond which confirms their success and shows that they can serve as examples of best practice for others to consider. The record number of entries for the 2015 Civil Society Prize shows that poverty is a real issue in Europe with almost 10% of the population in the EU being severely deprived.

The Civil Society Prize, now in its seventh year, is awarded for “excellence in civil society initiatives”. Further details about the 2015 Civil Society Prize are available here. You can watch the video of the winning projects here.