06 / 1993
La Quercia was founded in 1987. It was stimulated by the Local Public Health Service (USL)of Chiavenna as a way of creating job opportunities for disabled people and drug addicts. Objectives and staff have remained unchanged over the years though the first years have been particularly difficult form a financial point of view. The link with public institutions often meant the impossibility to guarantee a decent salary to the staff.
Today the 15 people (13 women, 2 men)working for the cooperative have an average salary of around 1.000.000 It. Lire a month (670 US $). Workers are organized in small groups each with its own coordinator. There are regular meetings among different groups and once a month everybody takes part in the General Assembly. Workers are also regularly offered the possibility of going on social work training courses. The cooperative gets 90% of its work from public istitutions . It is specialised in the management of public services such as sports centres, playing fields, parks etc. Ecological work is given special priority and La Quercia has a specialised sector for the maintenance and the planning of both public and private green areas.
In the future La Quercia wants to promote a small hen farm and a book binding initiative, to employ mentally disabled people. In Mese, the cooperative is also running activities at the local sports centre. This has required a great deal of financial investment on the side of the cooperative and it is hoped that it will be recouped in the near future. The overall budget is around 280.000.000 It. Lire (190,000 US $). The internal evaluation is positive and it is felt that the cooperative is getting out of the initial precarious situation and it is aquiring adequate management skills. La Quercia wishes to exchange more information on similar activities with other groups. This is already going on at the local level.
DAVICO, Luca, IRED NORD, IRED-Europe, 1993 (ITALY)
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