Home » Fund for Summer Centers: it’s time for stabilization (08/06/2023)

Fund for Summer Centers: it’s time for stabilization (08/06/2023)

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Fund for Summer Centers: it’s time for stabilization (08/06/2023)

In the hours when school is finishing, the Senate is still considering the Dl Lavoro, which in article 42 establishes a Fund for socio-educational activities in favor of minors, with a budget of 60 million euros. The resources are intended for the Municipalities, for the financing of socio-educational activities and the strengthening of summer camps, territorial socio-educational services and centers with an educational and recreational function. In reality, the activities can take place throughout the second half of the year, until 31 December. It is true that the mechanism has now been run in and the Municipalities will proceed quickly, but if on the one hand the paradox of a measure that arrives after the start of the services it finances remains, on the other hand the Government’s choice to give continuity to a relatively new and decidedly innovative measure it says the importance of investing in the non-formal education of children and teenagers.

«This intervention gives continuity to a fundamental measure that we introduced in 2020, after the pandemic. It was at that moment that national politics spoke of summer camps for the first time,” he recalls Elena Bonetti, deputy of Italia Viva and at the time minister for the family. «The success of these years has confirmed the importance of structurally supporting the enhancement and promotion of agreements between Municipalities and the Third Sector, recognizing the role of the Third Sector in non-formal education. The experience that has resulted in the various “EduCare” projects is also a model to be consolidated».

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The fund to support summer camps debuted for the first time in 2020, after the lockdown, when the then minister Bonetti strongly wanted (and against the tide, let’s face it) a measure for children and young people who had been severely penalized by the restrictions that throughout the spring they had anticipated more answers for the needs of dogs and their owners than for those of children and their parents. It was a Saturday evening that 16 May in which the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, in one of the almost nocturnal press conferences we were used to, said that «from 15 June a range of various ludic-recreational offers will be available to our children and here I have to thank the local authorities once again for having collaborated fruitfully in the elaboration of this range of activities and offers». For summer camps and educational activities for children and young people, 135 million euros were invested, which the Municipalities could use to carry out activities such as to reduce the fees charged to families. In 2021 the allocation for the summer centers was still 135 million euros, in 2022 the pandemic emergency of 58 million euros disappeared, now we are at 60 million.

«The Family Act provides for structural support for these activities, as well as for the deductibility of expenses incurred by families for summer camps», relaunches Bonetti, who underlines how «even the ex post checks that have been carried out by the Department on the use of these resources by the Municipalities confirms how this allocation of resources has been extraordinary but efficient, it has been a novelty that has borne good results».

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The other element that Bonetti highlights is the positive experience of co-planning in the territories between local authorities and the third sector: «In the last legislature we implemented the enhancement of the non-formal education proposals of the Third sector and we supported them with special tenders such as EduCare, which financed 328 projects with 35 million, EduCare together which allocated 15 million for 99 projects to which we added another 50 million for new projects, EduCare in the Municipality with 15 million euros, 5 of which disbursed last August and the others being disbursed now. The step to take now is to take charge of all those actions, giving stability to the resources and the method. The work perspective now is to use the model that we have introduced in recent years to define not only a continuity of funding but also to make co-planning with the third sector structural. Even the experience that has been made in the Childhood and Adolescence Observatory, with the guidelines for the involvement of children in the definition of projects and policies that concern them, must have its own structure and not depend on the sensitivity of a government or a minister. It is a question of making an investment in the educational element, which is not just the scholastic one: there are no policies for the birth rate or for equal opportunities that are effective if they are not based on an educational challenge”.

And the educating communities, much celebrated and invoked in recent years, but so difficult to create? «The feedback I have, in the dialogues and from the use of resources, says that having given indications for the use of resources intended for summer camps to build a relationship between Municipalities and the Third sector, it has introduced virtuous mechanisms of co-planning, even in small territories, involving subjects that already exist but were not connected. This is the main feature of the sense of the intervention and its stabilization».

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