The REN AGIR Award has seen an increase of around 30% in the number of applications for 2015. There are 171 projects from companies and non-profit organisations dedicated to this year's theme: active ageing.
'The number of applications reflects,' according to Margarida Ferreirinha, REN's Communications and Sustainability Director, 'the relevance of the theme and we are very pleased, once again, to have received projects from all over the country'. The 171 applications come from all districts of Portugal, including the Azores and Madeira, and 'this geographical coverage is only possible due to the efforts of local authorities to publicise the AGIR Award,' admits Margarida Ferreirinha.
The districts with most applications are Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra and Braga.
For Silvia Almeida, President of the Board of Associação BVS, which manages the Social Stock Exchange, a technical partner of this initiative, 'REN's AGIR Award is becoming a core social investment project of the sector. The dynamic nature of this year's applications confirms not only the reputation of the AGIR Award, but also the confidence that social organisations place in REN.' She also adds: 'I am very pleased that the BVS is collaborating with REN in this initiative. We hope to contribute in the best way possible to its success and social impact.'
The Gericuidar project, of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Lisbon, was the winner of the first AGIR Award. This 12-month project is encouraging the socio-professional integration of about 50 migrant women in the area of elderly care, through training and the creation and development of an Elderly and Carer Support Department, as part of JRS' employment and training. Second place went to the 'As Maiatas' project run by the Santa Casa da Misericórdia of Maia, which aims to become an intergenerational solidarity cooperative and involves the creation of jobs supporting the elderly for long-term unemployed women (out of work for over 5 years) aged over 40 years. Third prize was awarded to the 'Ferreira Empreende' project, which results from a partnership between Esdime [Southeast Alentejo Development Authority] and Ferreira do Alentejo Municipal Council. This project meets the challenge of getting young people to live in the country's inland regions, through the creation of micro-enterprises.
About the 2015 AGIR Award
This year's AGIR Award is devoted to Active Ageing. The elderly in Portugal represent around 19% of the total population. This is why solutions are needed to combat isolation and loneliness, and to break down stereotypes and prejudices about the role of the elderly in society. Answers are also needed for the deteriorating health and reduced mobility that often goes with ageing.
The AGIR Award forms part of REN'S policy of community engagement and social innovation. Every year the AGIR Award selects an area of social intervention and chooses three winning projects in that area. In 2014, the initiative's first year, the focus was on encouraging job creation.
The three best projects are chosen by REN in partnership with the BVS Social Stock Exchange, which will track and monitor the funds donated to each of the projects supported and assess the actual social impact of REN's support to each project.
The AGIR Award is aimed at non-profit companies and organisations. The top project will receive €30,000, with the runner-up receiving €15,000 and the third-placed project receiving €5,000.