Title of the practice : Foundation Vincenc Draksler

  • To support vulnerable goal groups to get new soft and technical knowledge which would give them a chance to get regular employment 
  • To support vulnerable goal groups in networking (among peers and with others (customers, SME-s, stakeholders)
  • To support vulnerable goal groups & encourage them to continue the path towards regular employment within or after the end of the program
  • To empower stakeholders - to put reuse first place in their policies
  • To empower inhabitants – to use reused items
  • To contribute to revival of the old city centres with shops and events promoting reuse

Detailed information on the practice

The idea of the reuse program at Foundation Vincenc Draksler Program started in 2006 when the first ideas for support of start up of social enterprises was announced by National ministry for employment and social affairs, which ended up in the National Operational program for ESS 2014-2020. The foundation V. Draksler work with ex drug addicts, having for them the rehabilitation program – how to enter back into the normal life with some work therapy. 

Based on a very good results of the mentioned program management and owner of the Foundation Vincenc Draksler and city community Kranj decided to establish social enterprise and to apply for funds at the national ministry for labour, family and social affairs. They put together the innovative program for reuse of “waste” e.g. wood, textile,…. The program was financed by ESS and national funds and now it is extended and still in force having 18 people employed (ex drug addicts and other vulnerable groups) working in production of reuse objects (furniture, textile,….) and in shops (now 4 open in the old part of city Kranj) and 1 shop in Radovljica (at the edge of the city). 

The main goal of the program is upgrading the possibility of vulnerable goal groups – ex drug addicts after ending the rehabilitation program to get regular employment.

Upon selection of the vulnerable goal groups entering the program the following is offered: 

  • Possibility to learn new skills & knowledge in the field how to work with wood, how to work with textile, technical goods,…. and also how to produce new products out of used items
  • Regular employment (working environment in Foundation premises (production in the country side, shops in the old city centre and outskirt of the city)
  • Program for upgrading the skills in the field of production of new items/repaired items made from different materials wood, textile, ….. technical goods,…..)
  • Daily support of qualified mentors for “technical issues” how to work with wood, textile,… and also from other experts (psychology, ………) and support staff
  • Team building, Networking with peers, customers, stakeholders
  • Support after the closure of the program 

In the programing period 2007-2013 over 40 people were involved in the program, 18 became regular employees. 

Program is  still in implementation,  although there is no public support for the program anymore, but through development of additional activities (e.g. working on new products for final customers- inhabitants, selling points – shops in old city centre ,donations from the owner and yearly donation run) Foundation was able to secure enough market income so that survival (non profit) is possible without additional public funds. 

It is important to say that this is only reuse program in the region, which beside the fact that is working on the “innovative field of reuse” including also creative industry, gained the recognition also for the fact that they are including in the programs and regular employment ex drug addicts.

Resources needed

  • Coordinator and support team to work daily with ex drug addicts involved in the program 
  • Qualified mentors and experts in the field of of reuse (working with ex drug addicts)
  • Suitable premises for production of new items- workshops (working environment for ex drug addicts)
  • Other (salaries of the workers (ex drug addicts), other costs (machines, equipment, electricity)

Evidence of success (results achieved)

Most of the ex drug addicts , that successfully finished the program found their way to further employment.

Difficulties encountered

  • Not so easy to persuade the donors and the state (Ministries) that social enterprise with reuse program can be successful
  • Ex drug addicts need special attention and special programs therefore extensive funds are needed 
  • Improvement of programs (what work/does not work) with additional/new experts, mentors based on the needs of ex drug addicts and demand of market 
  • How and which way to maintain implementation of the program with other means (when EU support was finished) how to empower local communities/local SME-s to support the program
  • How to maintain support ex drug addicts when program is finished (in the case that employment at Foundation is not possible due to financial/market limitations)