A handful of social innovation projects

VELUX FONDEN supports initiatives that allow socially disadvantaged people to participate in constructive communities. Five projects will now receive a total of DKK 10.6 million to develop and test new methods for creating inclusive communities for selected target groups – from vulnerable young men and children with hearing loss to lonely senior citizens and citizens with retardation of development.

Communities for all

This is the ambition behind VELUX FONDEN’s support for social initiatives in Denmark. In 2021, a total of DKK 55 million has been granted for method-developing social initiatives in Denmark that allow socially disadvantaged people to take active part in social communities.

Read more about the grant area for social initiatives in Denmark. 

Pandemic times with fewer communities set the tone for the projects:

“The communities of society have been put under pressure due to COVID-19. This has especially impacted children, young people, adults and senior citizens in socially disadvantaged positions. We have therefore requested project ideas that can include these groups in constructive communities. The selected projects provide innovative proposed solutions to current issues and point towards new methods and ways of creating and organising communities,” says Head of Programme Vibeke Lybecker from VELUX FONDEN’s area for social initiatives in Denmark.

Late summer start

The five projects reflect a wide range in both target groups and methodological approaches. A nationwide project aims to ensure that children and young people with hearing loss are better included in social and educational communities. In Herning, a project will activate volunteers for the social services offered by the municipality and thus contribute to creating more presence and better quality of life for disabled people. In Aarhus, a project will use nature as a setting for strengthening young men’s abilities to build up communities and get jobs and an education. Finally, two projects will support that lonely senior citizens from throughout Denmark can meet in digital communities. 

The projects will start in late summer.

See the projects:
Listen again: Children with hearing loss

– Development of method for optimisation of participation in constructive communities after COVID-19
V. Decibel – The National Organisation for Children and Young People with Hearing Loss, DKK 2,998,174

Children and young people with hearing loss are disadvantaged, both socially and educationally. ‘Open school’ and some of the initiatives taken in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as outdoor classes and digital school, make it extra challenging for children with hearing loss to keep up at school and develop socially, linguistically and educationally.

The overall purpose of the ‘Listen Again’ project is to develop, test and implement a method to ensure optimal inclusion of children and young people with hearing loss (HL) in social and educational communities in a society affected by, for example, COVID-19. The specific objectives of the project are: 1. To train children and young people with HL to navigate social and educational communities on their own 2. To provide family, teachers, educators, speech-hearing consultants and other people around children and young people with HL with knowledge and tools to support social and educational inclusion.  

The project will include 80 children and young people with hearing loss.

Foothold through nature

V. The non-profit institution CABI, DKK 3,057,191

The project will mitigate and prevent loneliness, marginalisation and risk behaviour among young men in a socially disadvantaged position, aged 25-29 years, residing in the City of Aarhus, with the purpose being to bring them closer to education and jobs.

Under the project, a method will be developed and tested that, with nature as a setting, aims to improve young men’s competences for forming part of positive communities. The project will combine nature-based courses with psychosocial and employment initiatives.

The project will be performed by CABI in collaboration with the enterprise Mandefællesskaber, Aarhus Job Centre and the organisation DareGender.

A virtual cup of coffee

V. Samvirkende Menighedsplejer, DKK 1,508,900

About four per cent of senior citizens aged over 65 feel lonely, and the prevalence increases with age. Close social relationships are important to mental health and quality of life, and long-term loneliness has negative health consequences. The purpose of the project is to establish virtual communities for senior citizens who, for various reasons, feel lonely or isolated in their home. Another purpose is to develop, test and gather experiences with a model for how the conventional form of visiting service can be supplemented by virtual elements.

The concept will initially be tested in Nykøbing Falster, Valby, Houlkær (Viborg) and the Brogårdshøj nursing home (Gentofte). The ambition is subsequently to establish virtual coffee groups in another 20 parishes. Approximately 240 senior citizens will have participated in the project over the course of its three-year duration.

Volunteers build bridges

V. Frivilligcenter Herning, DKK 1,924,906

The project focuses on the cooperation between civil society and municipality and will implement volunteerism in social services offered in the Municipality of Herning. The goal is to create more presence, greater contact interfaces and better quality of life for citizens with retardation of development and citizens with relation to the autism care sector or social psychiatry.

The project aims to develop methods that can build bridges and pave the way for citizens to participate in activities and communities outside their institutions and for volunteers to participate in and facilitate activities here.

The project will involve 200-250 citizens who receive social services and 60-100 volunteers from the surrounding residential areas (neighbour volunteers), students, early retirees/active senior citizens and their relatives. The project will be performed by Frivilligcenter Herning in collaboration with the Municipality of Herning’s Department for Disability and Psychiatry.

New communities. Travel from your living room – together with others

V. The Democracy in Europe Organisation (DEO), DKK 1,090,000

Vulnerable and lonely people, especially senior citizens, often lack digital competences and are therefore excluded from a number of the new digital communities that have emerged during the COVID-19 lockdown. The main purpose of the project is to engage thousands of lonely senior citizens from all over Denmark in online activities in the form of virtual travelling, and to involve senior citizens in permanent communities which can also meet physically after the reopening of society.

Through pedagogical guides and online training, the senior citizens will be offered digital training prior to each trip. The goal of the digital training is to support senior citizens in having digital competences that will enable them to take part in online societal debates and thus democratic participation.

The ambition is to gather 12,000 participants for 40 trips of 300 participants. The trips will take place via Zoom, and the idea is to establish group communities during each trip, where participants can talk to each other in small groups.

Vibeke Lybecker
Senior Adviser, Head of programme, VELUX FONDEN
+45 23 80 69 80
Anna Høxbro Bak
Communications Adviser, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+45 22 64 03 55