31 January 2023 – The Creative Centre is launched in Koper, with an innovative programme aimed at creating a work-life balance. It is part of the project Creative Work-life Balance (acronym BalanCed), implemented under the programme Education, Scholarships, Apprenticeship and Youth Entrepreneurship. The project promoter is the Center for Communication, Hearing and Speech Portorož and the project partners are the CONA B.P. Institute, the NOMED Institute (and Zelenci movement), thee Association for Culture and Education PiNA and Culture Break Borders (Norway).
Creating an environment where connecting habits such as acceptance, encouragement, listening, cooperation, trust, respect, coordination, creativity and responsibility are developed contributes to greater employee satisfaction, resulting in greater commitment and innovation. Active participation in the present project means just that to us – a new opportunity, a new environment for the development of increasingly satisfied individuals, employees,” said Ms Anja Cerkvenik, acting director of the Center for Communication, Hearing and Speech Portorož.
Ms Mateja Hrvatin Kozlovič, deputy mayor of the Municipality of Koper, also attended the opening, welcoming those present and pointing out that “… both children and adults will have the opportunity to test their creative expression here. Regardless of whether we are stepping into a new, unknown territory for the first time, or whether we are upgrading our creative skills.”
Why do we need creativity? Why be creative? “When we create, we express our feelings, we are in better contact with ourselves, we learn to solve problems, build self-confidence and overcome obstacles. We allow ourselves to be proud when we look at the results of our work and we socialize with like-minded people,” said Ms Barbara Gogala, head of the project.
The premises of the Creative centre were renovated with sustainable materials, whereas an important part of the project is also raising children’s awareness in the field of environmental protection. Ms Katarina Parovel, director of the Nomed Institute: “Children will (and already have) brought colour, playful energy and a lot of laughter to this space. Throughout the project, we will conduct several sets of workshops, some of which we have already conducted. They were aimed at furnishing the space – no, we did not go to the store to get furniture, but to get rid of it. At the handicraft workshops, we involved the children in sanding and painting the chairs, and at the environmental protection workshop, we sewed and upholstered the seats of the chairs together. We repainted the scrap cupboards and sewed aprons for the upcoming workshops. Together, we arranged a space in which we will feel good and will be happy to return to.”
They will soon go out into the field with the children and hold biodiversity workshops for them, discovering together the secrets of nature, both plants and animals. They will also offer thinking workshops that will encourage children to think critically, argue and find compromises through active debates.
With the desire that the content and activities within the Creative centre were tailored to the needs and wishes of the employees and their families, an analysis of their needs was carried out as part of the project. “We invited representatives of employees and employers to the focus groups, and in guided discussions together with them we identified the challenges they face, such as finding suitable care, and we also held focus groups with employers, where we determined what they needed for support employees in harmonizing their professional and private lives,” pointed out Ms Jasna Ratoša, expert associate at Association PiNA.
In the form of free courses and workshops, the Creative centre will offer the acquisition of skills in modelling clay, sewing, making natural cosmetics and photography. It will also offer a programme to strengthen soft skills for employees in organizations, and a diverse programme for children. Now, the activities of the Creative center are already full, but you can follow the upcoming ones on the project’s website and Facebook page.
You can also find more about the project BalanCed on the website of the EEA and Norway Grants in Slovenia.
The author of the photograph in the cover image: Klemen Skočir