Another Participate campaign organised by the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture is underway, inviting citizens to transform their city, make decisions or volunteer.

All interested parties can find out how manicuring an edible garden, erecting a monument to a neighbourhood and organising dances or Nordic walking can contribute to improving liveability in Rijeka at the Participate! campaign’s info days that will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, 4 and 5 June respectively, at 5 pm at RiHUb, 1/a Ivana Grohovca.

The idea behind the Participate! campaign is to enable the residents of Rijeka to participate in the Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture with their ideas and effort. By submitting their projects for the Civil Initiatives flagship, residents propose ways to improve the local community with social-cultural and art campaigns, while the Green Wave projects attempt to find ways to contribute to greener and tidier public spaces. The Citizens’ Council puts decision-making in the hands of the citizens – as representatives of the residents of Rijeka, the applicants, selected via public lottery, choose the best submitted projects, thereby ensuring financial aid for their implementation.

The first round of the Participate! campaign was successfully conducted last year. After the Rijeka 2020 company had invited citizens to directly participate in the European Capital of Culture project, a total of 80 projects were submitted for the Civil Initiative and Green Wave projects, with the Citizens’ Council selecting 11 projects for the Civil Initiative and the Green Wave flagships each.

In order to inspire all citizens to change the city, the participants of the first round of the Participate! campaign shared their experiences regarding the implementation of the project, as well as participation in the last assembly of the Citizens’ Council and volunteering.

Another co-funded project is Rijeka – Edible City, implemented by the Rijeka Transitional Initiative as part of the Green wave flagship. It was initiated by an informal group of citizens who want to learn more about organic gardening. Over the past few years, they have been given the opportunity to formalise their work through the participatory programmes of the European Capital of Culture. Their project seeks to convert the run-down space in Turnić into a fruit and vegetable garden, which would primarily serve as a small corner for socialising. The aim of the project is to encourage citizens to grow their own food, prompted by a statistic indicating that Primorje-Gorski Kotar is one of the counties that produces the least amount of food.
“One prominent motive was to inspire people to start socialising and create a better world together. Because there are a lot of people among us that want to contribute, but someone needs to draw them in and round them up. Folks, start planting, working, come to RiHub, let’s start new projects, you’ll develop wonderful and enriching friendships, you won’t be alone in your apartment and you’ll make the world a better place,” said Vesna Lokas of the Rijeka Transitional Initiative.

As part of the Civil Initiatives, the Kuraž Association is implementing the Concrete Memories project to celebrate the memory of the construction of the Škurinje neighbourhood, which sprang from the concrete in the 1970s. An artwork in the form of a concrete monument, created in cooperation with Dražen Vitolović from the Rijeka Academy of Applied Arts, will be erected as part of the project on Negri Street, which offers a clear view of the former Adria Monti factory that built Škurinje from concrete blocks.
“The monument is finished and in the next phase, parts will be delivered from the Academy to lay the foundation, followed by a campaign that includes the planting of flowers and the renovation of the area. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 20 June during the Škurinje Days celebration,” said Patricia Tićac of the Kuraž Association.

After deciding which citizens’ projects would receive financial support, Silvija Skorić Vujnović, Member of the last Assembly of the Citizens’ Council, will now evaluate them as well.
“How does someone decide to become a Member of the Citizens’ Council? You’re surrounded by negative comments about how nothing ever happens, how everything is at a standstill and how there are problems everywhere you look. Then, all of a sudden, you have the ECoC and RiHub and when I saw that someone was offering something, I thought to myself – let’s check it out and I applied for the Citizens’ Council,” said Skorić Vujnović.

In order to evaluate citizens’ projects, all Council Members, including herself, were required to complete training, during which they realised that civil initiatives have support for their implementation and that the City of Rijeka is not always to blame for the woes of the city.
“It was quite interesting to see all the various types of people who decided take part in the Citizens’ Council and I loved the fact that there were people of all ages. That meant that the people showed a general interest in contributing to the betterment of our city,” said Skorić Vujnović and added “Folks, sing up, be a part of the city, participate, do something, you’ll enrich the city, your fellow citizens and yourselves.”

The volunteer Ivana Jović came to RiHub to be taught and wound up teaching others – knitting.
“I came here to learn something, but when I saw the environment and the people, I realised I wanted to be involved in the project. So far, I’ve volunteered in social care and health and now I’ve decided to volunteer in culture. The volunteering culture isn’t really widespread in Croatia, but young people carry the message. I started volunteering through my daughter, who is a long-time volunteer in culture, and I’m very glad that I did. It is a wonderful experience – you enter a new environment, meet new people and employ a new work system,” said Jović.

Marija Katalinić, coordinator of the RIJEKA 2020 participatory programmes, thanked everyone for their contribution, inviting all citizens to find out more in the following days about the projects that received funding approval in the first round of the tender process.

The rollout of the Civil Initiative projects that were approved for co-funding in the first round of the tender process for participatory programmes will take place at RiHub (1/a Ivana Grohovca, Rijeka) on Tuesday, 4 June 2019 at 5 pm, while the rollout of the Green Wave projects will take place a day later on Wednesday, 5 June 2019, at 5 pm at RiHub as well.

This will allow the public to learn more about the projects that the citizens chose for citizens. The project rollout will be followed by an informative programme for new applicants/interested parties pertaining to the second round of the tender process for participatory programmes.

We would like to remind you that the call for proposals for new projects that improve the local community with social-cultural and art campaigns, as well as projects that will make Rijeka greener (Civil Initiatives and Green Wave) is open until 19 June 2019 and that 10 June 2019 is the application deadline for applying to the Citizens’ Council, which evaluates submitted projects and recommends them for funding.

For more formation, you can click the Participate! link, send an e-mail to ukljucise@rijeka2020.eu, call 091-612-6314, or come to RiHub at 1/a Ivana Grohovca between noon and 1 pm and between 4 pm and 5 pm on weekdays.