Establishing a Civil House in Végegyháza
Small NGOs often struggle with logistical resources and a lack of guidance, preventing them to reach their full potential. The Hungarian organisation Barangoló, has addressed this particular issue in Végegyháza by establishing a Civil House where NGOs can operate and receive support.
The biggest challenge of the project was finding the resources to develop the facilities. With financial support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the NGO Programme in Hungary, Barangoló were able to start work on transforming an old school building into suitable premises. Project promoter Judit Horváth descirbes the renovation process itself as a clear example of the community’s support for the project – a group of local volunteers helped bring the Civil House to life by working on the renovation in their spare time. The extensive process included modernising the heating system, creating a conference room and repainting the building’s walls, doors and floors.
“People are happy to help our organisation as the end result reaps positive benefits for the community as a whole,” explains Horváth. “We have 55 registered voluntary workers and when required we can count on help from around 100 additional volunteers happy to help out on a more ad hoc basis.”
A house full of life
Since opening its doors, the Civil House has hosted a variety of events. Last year, local NGOs organised a multitude of events and activities at the house, including ten after-school clubs, racking up over 5 600 visitors. In addition to providing space for NGO activities, the house operates as an advice centre where organisations can get help with project funding applications and receive information on variety of topics such as organisational and volunteer management, and finances. Thanks to a mentoring system, 11 proposals have been submitted to various funding programmes for NGOs, businesses, municipalities and institutions. Additionally, the Civil House acted as a consultant for six applications – bringing a total of 46 million HUF to projects in the area.
Photo: Barangoló Association
Horváth emphasises the importance of making the facilities and the expertise of the consultants accessible. “We don’t charge rent. Our services are offered free of charge to everyone, which is an essential element in our project,” she explains.
Modern and affordable
Horváth mentions that the support of the EEA and Norway Grants was critical for the transformation of the old school building into the modern, multifunctional and accessible community centre it is today. She particularly highlights the advanced heating system which significantly lowers the maintenance cost of the building, making it easier for the Civil House to provide long-term support for the civil society in Végegyháza.
Photo: Barangoló Association
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway provide € 9 812 to this project.
Creating/Building a Civil House in Végegyháza
Barangolo Public Benefit Organization
Type of Institution:
Grass root initiative (NGO)
One of the main problems of civic organisations in Végegyháza is to find a place for their programs. The community centre cannot provide a regular place for the civic and self-organising communities. The local government cannot take the financial and professional responsibilities to maintain the Civic House. The solution of the situation seems to be the collaboration of the civic organizations. The civic organizations of the village set up the Civic House Union, where programs and the courses about maintenance are going to take place. They are planning to provide new services in this new institution, too. The Union plans to maintain the Centre following an annual plan, made and authorized by the Civic Council, coordinated by the Barangoló Org. The maintenance season is one-year period. This program provides the opportunity to set an example for small settlements, as it shows the power of citizens to develop their living place. The main target group is the full population of Végegyháza.