“I accepted this challenge without the smallest hesitation. And since then it has been my passion to make a difference in the lives of those people who are part of society’s marginalised groups” 

(Phil Taylor, project director)

The Active Inclusion Learning Network was born in 2013 with the aim to support the exchange among EU member states of strategies and practices for improving the social inclusion of disaffected groups and marginalised communities by tackling unemployment and preventing stigmatisation. The network is funded through the European Commission and focusses on 3 main topics – disaffected youth, marginalised communities and troubled families.

The final conference of this important network took place in Rome (Italy) on 19-20 May 2015. Almost 200 participants out of 17 EU member states took part in this event where the results of the project were presented.

After the official opening the programme started with a presentation by Ms. Cristina Berliri from the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, informing the audience about the actual status in Italy regarding social inclusion of marginalised groups. This was followed by an update from Mr. Vincent Caron, representing the European Commission and its policies in the field.

After a first coffee break the floor was for Professor Ioan Durnescu (University of Bucharest, Romania), presenting the actual results of the project. He told the audience that after a start of research meetings and small steering groups coming together, the project had developed concrete surveys that were sent out to all EU member states. An impressive number of 292 (!) were returned and analysed, and discussed during 2 platform meetings in the year 2014. All these results including the outcomes of the discussions of the Platform meetings have resulted in an extensive report, that will soon be published online.

In theActive Inclusion 2 (2) afternoon the conference participants could follow 2 workshop sessions in which more specific topics were discussed. Mr. Subacius presented the “Mano Guru” salad bar in Lithuania – a place where ex-offenders and other marginalised people are offered the opportunity to learn a job and thus get back into (the rhythm of) work and society. A big success that gives hope! In fact one of the people who had participated and had found a job as a cook in one of Vilnius’ regular restaurant concluded:  “Actually to steal is much harder than to work…”.

In between the sessions there was much time to network and to exchanged experiences, best practices and information.

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