Trentino (Italy): 12th Convention of Family-friendly municipalities

The event was held in the town hall of the certified “family” municipality of Garniga Terme

April 21, 2022 – Where families are well, the territory is well: this is the slogan of the 12th Convention of the Municipalities, friends of the family, which was held today in Garniga Terme. 101 Municipalities are certified as “Family in Trentino” and another 50 are in the process of acquiring the brand. A strong signal that comes from the Trentino area, which increasingly wishes to invest resources in supporting the birth rate and families, the only real engine of social and economic growth. Today 6 new “family” certificates were delivered to the municipalities of: Ospedaletto, Samone, Novella, Ville di Fiemme, Panchià, Ville d’Anaunia and Predaia. The provincial councilor for family policies received applause for the initiative, strongly supported by the council, which placed the family and support for the birth rate at the center of its policies. The commissioner recalled how these last two years strongly marked by the pandemic there has been a sharp decline in the birth rate, especially in 2020, which however saw a slight recovery in 2021, so we need to aim for active policies and believe in the future to grow everyone together with hope. He underlined the importance of creating a system and a network between provincial and municipal institutions. Finally, he recalled how the various coliving projects developed, and which are being developed in Trentino, with the Agency for social cohesion, have had great success, with the aim of contrasting the depopulation of mountain or peripheral municipalities and of guarantee the maintenance of services for families.

Moderated by journalist Linda Pisani, the event opened with greetings from local authorities. The Municipality of Garniga Terme presented its Family Plan and stressed that the challenge of a small mountain town is to invest in the family and therefore in 2018 it obtained the “Family in Trentino” label. The country does not have essential services to support the family, including schools, but in recent years there has been a reversal of the trend and some families have returned to take up residence in Garniga. The quality of life still has an important value and this is the added value of living in a small suburban town. In 2021 there were 6 births and this opens up signs of hope.

Paola Pisoni, president of the Forum of Trentino Family Associations, recalled that “it is necessary to invest in families to work on the main engine of social development. The birth rate crisis is favoring processes of abandonment of small municipalities and it is therefore necessary to enhance the network between public and private organizations in the area and to enhance the services in support of families to transform small municipalities into attractive and privileged places of residence “. The Consortium of Trentino Municipalities, on the other hand, recalled that the municipal administrations, thanks to the brand, decide to re-orient all their “family-friendly” policies. The family must not be considered a passive subject of welfare aid, but the protagonist of family welfare actions in the area.

Two tourism entrepreneurs also intervened, Patrizia Zanlucchi and Luigi Piffer, who gave testimony of how a non-hotel tourist activity can become an experience of tourist revitalization of a mountain municipality and commented: “We have made available an apartment for tourist for short nights. Availability, hospitality and making the area known are the words of obligation. We try to enhance the products of our local companies and the guests, who come from all over the world, take away a lot of serenity and an excellent quality of life “.

“What connections between family policies and social cohesion?” was the central theme of the speech by Annamaria Perino of the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento, who declared: “Families are at the center of a great change: single-parent families are growing, divorces are increasing and there is it is a decline in the birth rate, and economic policies must be reformulated in this sense. However, Trentino does not follow this trend given the far-sightedness in having built family and social cohesion policies that are consolidated and integrated in the area. Social cohesion helps to connect policies on: urban spaces, local economies and resources, social integration. It is necessary – she concluded – to work on the sense of belonging and on the cultural, identity and inclusive dimensions. “

Luciano Malfer, general manager of the Agency for Social Cohesion of the Autonomous Province of Trento, intervened to follow: “The family is not a problem, but it is a resource. The welfare state is not enough and needs a network of organizations and stakeholders in the area which, together, develop family, sports, corporate, territorial, cultural and intergenerational welfare. The Governing Board is to certify all the Trentino municipalities. A family-friendly society is cohesive, inclusive, it is an educating community. Finally, Malfer recalled the important self-assessment action (through the Family Plan) that the Municipalities of their respective “Family Plans” do. The 101 “family” municipalities in 2021 produced 97 plans and 3,204 concrete family policy actions (services, infrastructures, tariff policies). “

Various testimonies from Trentino, Italy and Europe followed: Silvia Conotter, a territorial marketing professional, made her debut, talking about territory and families with “Trentino dei Bambini”: “Years ago I launched the site that collects all the activities and events for families, previously scattered on various platforms. With 1,200,000 users and 100,000 fans on facebook, our action as an aggregator on the territory works. We also have a program on Trentino TV and we publish the “Trentino Children’s Guide” and we collaborate in promoting the services and initiatives offered by the 101 Trentino family municipalities “.

This was followed by a succession of testimonies from municipalities that are members of the national network of family municipalities, including the Municipality of Zevio (VR), which underlined the importance of shortening the distance between institutions and families. Zevio has 15,000 inhabitants, 6,140 families with 146 born in 2021: data that register a positive signal with a 2% increase in families. The family plan is rich and includes dozens of interventions, including a family counter, events, infrastructures, discounted rates. The Municipality of Druento (TO) with 9,000 inhabitants and 65 new births a year, is the first Piedmontese municipality to be certified as a family in 2021. Thanks to the brand, all policies have been reoriented towards family well-being. Finally, the Municipality of Gandino in Valseriana (BG) presented the data about the 38 municipalities of the valley, where there is a natural balance of -500 people and an increasing aging. For Gandino the theme of the family is central to guaranteeing a future for his community.

Irena Jeśmanowicz, president of the Association of large families of Poland, presented the project “Common friends of the family”: “at the beginning we studied the solutions adopted in family-friendly cities in other European countries, including Italy, Norway , France and Austria. Each example was important and inspired us. We currently have 8 Polish “family” certified municipalities. In the certification process we – he concluded – focused on 5 strategic areas: communication and cooperation with families; social infrastructure (nursery schools, playgrounds, public places for families, etc.); childcare solutions (childcare vouchers, nursery schools, etc.); housing needs; social security and assistance “.

Regina Maroncelli, president of the European Confederation of Large Families (ELFAC), spoke of the birth of the Network “Family in Europe”: “It was born in 2018 in the wake of the Italian network and today has 66 municipalities from 8 European countries. The dissemination took place, as in Italy, through the network of large family associations, which immediately grasped the value and prospects of the project. We have talked about it in international conferences, we have also been mentioned in a UN report as an example of good practices and family policies. The network has not stopped growing and working even with the pandemic: we have organized a series of online “study visits” in numerous European cities. “

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