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Cooperatives of Employment and Services in Rural areas (CesR)
Start date: Dec 31, 2011, End date: Dec 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The CesR project involves 8 partners from all over Europe. These public authorities or development agencies from old or recent Member States of the EU are in charge of rural regions and share common problematics, in particular in the rural services sector: How to create or reinforce sustainable employment, so that people in sparsely populated areas can live on their work and stay in their areas ?In the context of population ageing, rural public authorities encounter difficulties in providing services to the elderly or disabled population (on-demand transportation, personal care aid, meal on wheels…). Even if the demand is increasing, it is still not enough to reach the critical mass which would allow employing people on a full time basis.Consequently, employment in the services sector in rural areas is mostly precarious. It is difficult for people to live on their activity. As a result, people leave the area, which may contribute to the closure of school and public services.Breaking this visious circle is not an easy task, but it is crucial for the partners regions.The services sector is not only composed by the home care services. The tourist economy is a big provider of services as well, but the potential in that field seems to be underexploited. In the self-catering accommodation sector in particular, a wide range of services can be implemented and offered to the customers.This underexploited potential is important, as the tourist demand and the inhabitants needs could, together, reach the critical mass needed to offer secure, full-time jobs in our rural areas.Regional and local authorities have a key role to play on these issues, as some of them are direct providers of home care services, or in capacity of implementing incentive policies encouraging other public and private bodies to create services and employment.By exchanging their successful experiences in the fields of care services, tourist services and jobs sharing, CesR partners intend not to reinvent the wheel but transfer good policies from one region to another.After analysing the existing policies in the involved regions, partners will identify the best of these policies and practices and evaluate their transferable character. The essentials of these policies and methods for transfer will be gathered in a handbook available online on the project website, and sent to local and regional policy makers in the 8 regions involved, but also to thematic national & European networks. This handbook will be a decision making tool for future policies.All along CesR implementation, partners commit themselves to communicate widely on the project's results, through a website, interregional conferences and a newsletter, so that other public authorities and regions in Europe can benefit as much as possible from the CesR project and its results. Achievements: The project started with the kick off meeting in Auvergne (France) on the 7th of March. All partners participated, and the project was presented to 46 policy makers and tourist stake holders. Partners prepared guidelines and templates to produce a detailed analysis of the situation in all involved regions regarding the sector of the services, and tourist services in self catering holiday houses in particular. Then, in June, all project partners went to Gozo (Malta) to meet stake holders involved in these fields and see interesting policies and practices. Among the various meetings organized, the Ministry for Gozo, Gozo Framhouses and the Baron Group Malta were the most relevant. This last example shows that there is a market for additional services in self catering accommodation, which represents many job creations. This business is a good illustration of what CesR partners could try and support in the future.
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