Amendments to both cooperation agreements for the EEA Grants and the Norway Grants were signed at the end of February 2022 and the relevant programme agreement was amended in May 2022. The Directorate General Growth, Ministry of Finance, acting as the National Focal Point and the Programme Operator for the Local development and poverty reduction programme, will distribute the additional funds. These specifically will be allocated to two pre-defined projects: the EEA Grants reserve of €304 800 will be allocated to the 'Multifunctional Community Centre for people with special needs' and the Norway Grants reserve of €42 500 – to the 'Solidarity Network Nicosia in Action NicInAct'.
The implementation of the additional activities under these projects, focusing on providing various social services to vulnerable groups, will strengthen the social dimension of the programme and further contribute to the enhancement of social cohesion as well as social inclusion in Cyprus. Moreover, as the services provided by both projects will be available to both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots it will also contribute to the promotion of bi-communal cooperation.
"It is with great appreciation to the Donors that we received an additional amount of €304,800 from the reserve, to finance the construction of an independent house to complement the main building currently under construction financed by the EEA Grants, for the Multifunctional Community Centre for people with special needs. This house will add significant value to our project and allow us to offer overnight stay services for a short and long stay to up to eight people with mental and physical disabilities. The house will provide a warm and safe environment to these people where they can receive round-the-clock care. It will also improve the quality of life of these people and their families", said Ms Thekla Kallika, Co-ordinator of the St Louca’s Community.
She added that "the ultimate goal is to build six such houses surrounding the main building when additional funds become available. This is of vital importance considering the lack of such services rendered by both the public and private sectors in Cyprus. This project will also contribute towards de-institutionalisation of people with disabilities, help them reach their full potential and assist them in their successful inclusion within our society. This funding from the EEA donors gives us the strength and confidence to continue striving for the fulfilment of our end goal which is the construction and running of our Multifunctional Centre offering a full range of therapies, daycare, overnight stay and recreational and developmental activities to people with mental and physical disabilities."
Ms Roula Georgopoulou, Head Officer at the Nicosia Multifunctional Foundation, also expressed her appreciation: "The decision of the Donors to allocate an additional amount of €42 500 from the reserve of Norway Grants to our project is deeply appreciated. The additional amount is expected to finance the various social services that are being offered by the Solidarity Network. The establishment of the Solidarity Network Hub, with the support of the Norway Grants, provides innovative social services to the most deprived citizens as well as integrates various social services of the Foundation and of other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who act within the area of Nicosia Municipality and create a network of social services. The aim is to maximize the impact of the efforts across the community in a range of fields varying from reducing social disparities to providing free legal, counselling, accounting, services, child care, and child protection, etc. The project has already surpassed its initially set targets indicating a real need for the services offered by the Solidarity Hub to vulnerable people in the city of Nicosia. We are confident that the additional funding will be put to good use and that it will give us the opportunity to provide the much-needed services beyond the initial project completion date, which will allow the project to reach even more beneficiaries and capitalize on its existing success by strengthening even more the cooperation between the network partners. The state values the work of the Solidarity Hub. Cooperation initiatives between the hub and the state are in place on multiple levels. The extension period will allow the strengthening of such state-local government-civil society cooperation."
The 'Local development and poverty reduction' programme is composed of 12 pre-defined projects focusing on four areas: climate change and environment; health, local development and social services and good governance. It aims to contribute to improving the waste management system, mitigating climate change effects, enhancing social inclusion, developing new practices for disease prevention, improving public health, and reducing health inequalities.
Learn more about the programme and the supported projects here