Following a visit in 2018, the ESF Youth Employment Thematic Network produced an animated video about the So Stay hotel in Gdańsk, a work integration enterprise employing young care-leavers.
So Stay is an innovative social enterprise scheme supported by the ESF that is transforming the lives of young people in Poland. In a short animated film made by the Youth Unemployment Thematic Network we see how one young care leaver, Magda, has benefited from its support.
Magda grew up in care and later moved into a family house founded by Poland’s Social innovation Foundation. This meant she had support around her as a young adult and people she could build a relationship with and go to for advice. This support helped her go to college – quite an achievement considering only 8% of care leavers in Europe go into higher education.
Living in a family house also meant Magda had support to find a job, despite an estimated 46% of care-leavers in Poland being unemployed. Higher unemployment among care leavers, compared with the general population, is common across Europe.
This is what the ESF is all about: helping people like Magda and helping the schemes that can help people like her. This is why the ESF provided funding to the So Stay hotel, which transformed an unused public building into a destination hotel. The hotel mainly employs care-leavers, and gives them a chance to gain experience and training while earning a living at the same time. It is innovative effective projects like these that make a difference to people like Magda.
Article on So Stay
 In England for example, recent data from the Department for Education show that 40% of care-leavers aged 19-21 are NEETs, compared to around 13% of those in the general population.