‘Assistance from A to Z’ as an Innovative Social Investment in Action. Evaluation of a Case Study

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Abstract

The aim of the article is to present a case study of the implementation of innovative social investment in the area of social inclusion. The case study analysed, namely the project Assistance from „A” to „Z”Professional activation of homeless people from Wroclaw Circle St. Brother Albert Aid Society, refers to the social and vocational integration of homeless people at the municipal level in Poland. The authors hypothesize that innovative social investments are key to the success of the policy of social inclusion, which requires new, innovative ideas to empower people at risk of exclusion.

The article uses the case study method and the method of desk research, in which an analysis of the strategy documents, source materials and activities was carried out. The results were subjected to critical analysis, using the achievements of research in the field of social investment, social innovation and social inclusion policy. The paper is the result of partial studies carried out within the framework of the research project Innovative Social Investment: Strengthening communities in Europe (InnoSI), financed by the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020.

As a result, one has to consider the question “What works?”. The analysis showed the accompaniment method to be the most effective tool in the project’s actions and one which may be disseminated as a recommendation for social investment. The question “How?” brought evidence that the existing set of activities and their sequence (integrity and complexity) was appropriate, necessary and effective from the perspective of beneficiaries, the Wroclaw Circle St. Brother Albert Aid Society and stakeholders. Considering the question “In what circumstances?”, the key element was related to the leadership offered by the Wroclaw Circle St. Brother Albert Aid Society, which was running the implementation of the project. As a conclusion, one can formulate the cautious thesis that the outcomes can to some extent be generalized, particularly at the level of other local entities in Poland or in other countries/regions of Central and Eastern Europe, which have a similar welfare model (e.g. the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia).

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