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215. Colline Giovani – “Youth Hills”

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Coop Name: Consorzio Sol.Co - Rete di Imprese Sociali Siciliane N° of Employees: 8
City: Catania N° of Members: 110
Country: Italy Year of formation: 1994
Website: http://www.solcoct.coop
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About this coop:

The Consorzio Sol.Co. is one of the largest networks of social cooperatives in Southern Italy. It was founded in 1994 by 5 social cooperatives type A. It has worked in the world of social cooperation for 17 years in Sicily, in the field of integration, promotion, interaction and of quality assurance of social work and today it is made up of more than 110 cooperatives. In all these years the Consorzio Sol.Co. has been able to respond to the needs of the local communities and people. All cooperatives and all members of the network must feel involved in the design of the network plan and they must be active players in network development.

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The Consortium Sol.Co. – Sicilian Social Enterprise Network works to achieve integration, promotion, interaction and quality assurance of social work throughout the territory. In June 2010, through an open tender, the Consortium was awarded a ten-year management contract of a property confiscated from the mafia. The property is now called “Youth Hills” and will be converted into a community centre, focused particularly on youth training and orientation. It is a 300 square meter villa confiscated from the mafia, located in a residential area of the City of Acicastello (Ficarazzi).

The objective is for the centre to become a real “tool” to unlock the potential of young people of the region through the development of actions to stimulate and support their creative and professional resources. The Consortium aims to provide young people of the territory, especially to those in particular disadvantage in the labor market, the knowledge and skills necessary for effective participation in the socio-economic life of their communities.

The property is currently in a state of disrepair – broken walls and shutters, doors and window frames torn off, abandoned floors, rickety stairs – so the first task is maintenance and restoration. Local groups have already offered their assistance in this renovation and redevelopment.

The consortium is also working with local associations, other consortia and cooperatives with the aim of engaging the population in the fight against the mafia, the promotion of legality, and awareness of interventions directed towards the most vulnerable groups in society, particularly in terms of access to the labor market.

To carry out this campaign we developed “MaifiusuMai” (Mafioso no way), a brand name used as the core of fundraising for the enhancement and transformation of Villa Youth Hills. Beginning in summer 2011, a range of local handicrafts and regional products from organic farming were sold under MaifiusuMai throughout the entire territory of Acicastello with the aim of raising funds, strengthening collective cooperation, promoting legality, and reinforcing the sense of the common good.

The funds collected are used for the renovation of the confiscated property and education initiatives aimed at integrating young people into the legal workforce in the area. The proceeds derived from the fund-raising campaign have made the cultural and legal conversion of the villa possible and the usage of the funds is made public and updated on the website www.solcoct.it or www.ebbene.it.

Author of this story
Ilenia Lodato
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