RegioStars Awards

The REGIOSTARS are Europe’s awards for the most innovative, regional projects.

Category 3 - Combatting inequalities and poverty

199 submissions arrived this year for REGIOSTARS 2019, the annual competition rewarding excellence and new approaches in regional development. This year, we are proud to present to you all of the applications.
These projects are local, regional or national initiatives fighting against poverty and material deprivation; they foster more inclusive, cohesive and equal societies.
For details of the category, we refer you to the Guide for Applicants.

Here are this year’s applications for the REGIOSTARS awards category 3!

Support your favourite project already now! Show the jury which project you find the best and reward them with a trip to Brussels to the REGIOSTARS 2019 award ceremony on the eve of 9 October .
The independent jury will choose up to 5 finalists per category, to be announced on 9 July. The votes casted after this date will be counted further for the finalists, competing for the REGIOSTARS 2019 public choice award.

A Step into the Future

The Step into the Future project was targeted at people residing in the Świdnik District at risk of social exclusion. Over the implementation period 497 people took part. The goal of the project was to increase social and occupational activity. Every person took part in occupational counselling. Occupational instruction was organised as an innovative activity in Occupational Activity Workshops. We have also implemented professional internships, courses, training, rehabilitation treatment etc.
Timeframe: 03/2008 - 10/2015
Country(ies): Poland
Organisation: Świdnik District Family Support Centre
Fund: European Social Fund



Starting with pilot territories, the aim of this Franco-Belgian project is to create a cross-border community of practices that sustainably increases access to a quality diet for all people, including the most vulnerable populations. Specifically, AD-In develops, examines and disseminates practices that promote a sustainable diet for all: training programmes and actions for intermediary actors, food challenges with citizens, networking between ambassadors for sustainable food, etc.
Timeframe: 04/2016 - 03/2020
Country(ies): Belgium-France
Organisation: Observatoire de la Santé du Hainaut
Fund: European Regional Development Fund (Interreg)


Ballyhoura Community Inclusion Toolkit

The Ballyhoura Development Community Inclusion Toolkit is presented as a practical aid to community groups in the Ballyhoura area of East County Limerick and North County Cork. Its purpose is to help groups to include in their activities and structures as many people as possible, drawn from the widest possible range of backgrounds and circumstances. The project is supported by the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) which is co-funded by the ESF
Timeframe: 05/2017 - 12/2018
Country(ies): Ireland
Organisation: Ballyhoura Development CLG
Fund: European Social Fund



The goal of the project was to reduce the isolation of blind people in the target area (Chernivtsi oblast, Suceava county and Chisinau city) by creating a technical basis and favorable conditions for communication, trainings, job search and cultural exchanges for the blind, through the borders. The project was carried out by the blind organizations from all three countries (Romania, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova), under direct management of the Ukrainian active NGO in the cross border area
Timeframe: 12/2013 - 12/2013
Country(ies): Romania
Organisation: Chernivtsy Regional Organization of Ukrainian Association of Blind People
Fund: European Regional Development Fund


Carré des Biffins

‘Biffins’ is an old slang word meaning Parisian ragpickers. Carré des Biffins is a solidarity market located at the gates of the St Ouen Flea Market, where people who find themselves in difficult circumstances sell second-hand products. It is a place where they’re able to meet and enjoy social recognition, a working environment that can allow them to regain their footing. This experiment is a new response to the phenomenon of hawking goods on the roadside, and it enjoys a close working relationship with the Town Hall.
Timeframe: 01/2018 - 12/2018
Country(ies): France
Fund: European Social Fund


Casa do Xisto

The Casa do Xisto: Art for (Dis)Ability project focuses on people with disabilities and aims to foster their autonomy and well-being by intervening directly in the social problem at issue: the lack of occupational facilities for people with disabilities. Conscious of the importance of differentiated and innovative action, this project emerges as a timely and continuous response, focused and individualised, in specific areas such as arts, crafts and sports.
Timeframe: 12/2018 - 12/2021
Country(ies): Portugal
Organisation: EDUCASOM
Fund: European Social Fund


Create a happy home for your child

The main goal of this project has been to provide support to the families at risk of social exclusion in which there are care or support deficits that could result in children being placed in foster care. Families have been supported by family assistants, who help them improve their parenting skills and overcome daily hardships. As part of the project, we have also created two care and support centres for 14 children each, where children can receive support from supervisors and a psychologist.
Timeframe: 01/2018 - 12/2019
Country(ies): Poland
Organisation: City of Warsaw
Fund: European Social Fund


Digitization acts former penal colonies

The project "Digitization of acts of former penal colonies" has seen the recovery, digitization and securing of the archives of three former penal colonies of Sardinia: Asinara, Tramariglio and Castiadas. Ten prisoners from the prisons of Sassari and Alghero were involved and, before their work, they were trained in digital and archival skills and were involved in setting up two multimedia museums, which have become important points of tourist and cultural attraction.
Timeframe: 04/2015 - 12/2015
Country(ies): Italy
Organisation: Asinara National Park – Porto Conte Regional Park
Fund: European Regional Development Fund



EPIC helps migrants living in Ireland to find meaningful employment making use of their skills and qualifications.  We do this through group training, one to one guidance and supports from businesses through our Business in the Community Ireland “Network for Responsible Business”  We celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2018, and have supported over 3,000 people from more than 100 countries since 2008.
Timeframe: 04/2017 - 03/2021
Country(ies): Ireland
Organisation: Business in the Community Ireland
Fund: European Social Fund



The EpiLouve social grocery store is a social project for vulnerable people to access basic hygiene and food products at a low price. Led by the Public Centre for Social Welfare (PCSW) of La Louvière, it involved the renovation of a building to create a social grocery store. Epilouve combats poverty and exclusion whilst respecting recipients' dignity and avoiding State handouts in order to combat food waste by encouraging the collection and distribution of unsold food from the region's shops.
Timeframe: 06/2016 - 11/2020
Country(ies): Belgium
Organisation: Centre Public d’Action Sociale de la Ville de La Louvière
Fund: European Regional Development Fund



The EUMINT project strengths institutional cross-border cooperation between Italy and Austria in the territories of Südtirol-Alto Adige, Tirol, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Kärnten, Veneto and Trentino in order to tackle the social, economic, political and cultural challenges connected to migration. The project focuses on three dimensions related to the integration of asylum seekers and refugees: Cross-border, civic and labour integration.
Timeframe: 01/2018 - 07/2020
Country(ies): Austria-Italy
Organisation: EURAC RESEARCH
Fund: European Regional Development Fund (Interreg)


Good support

Imagine...Uber in neighborly help - This is the added value of our "Good Support" project. This is an innovative and partnership project to increase the accessibility of social services.The system uses in its operation both a web application available from each computer, as well as is integrated with a mobile application that uses the technical capabilities of modern phones. It is an autonomous system connecting local users (municipality - care company - guardian - ward - family) without an expensive telecentre.

Timeframe: 01/2018 - 12/2019
Country(ies): Poland
Organisation: Science for Environment Foundation
Fund: European Social Fund


House of Skills

House of Skills uses a cross-sectoral, integral and regional partnership to develop a skills-oriented and sustainable labour market. The assessment, training, and matching process of jobs and workers will be more efficient with the innovative use of a normalized skills taxonomy that can be widely utilized by employers and employees. Results are real-time insight into future labour market changes, training of 5000 participants and an inclusive labour market with equal opportunities for everyone.
Timeframe: 09/2017 - 08/2020
Country(ies): Netherlands
Organisation: Gemeente Amsterdam
Fund: European Regional Development Fund


I am your neighbour. DO NOT SORT me out

How to accommodate residents of social housing: isolate in individual apartment buildings or integrate into general apartment buildings? In a 6-month social campaign, we sought to increase public tolerance towards residents of social housing, and to encourage municipalities to choose integration rather than isolation policy. Unconventional solutions, provocative experiments, social advertising, seminars, impressive dissemination in traditional and social media have helped to achieve results
Timeframe: 06/2018 - 11/2018
Country(ies): Lithuania
Organisation: Central project management agency
Fund: European Social Fund


ICT for Special Education Centres

This operation has been to distribute digital tablets between Special Education Centres in the Comunidad Valenciana Region with communication, visual, autism spectrum and other disabilities. The aim of this action is to promote social and employment integration by applying innovative and motivating technologies compatible with special educational needs and thus to improve the learning process and digital competence of pupils.
Timeframe: 01/2015 - 05/2018
Country(ies): Spain
Organisation: Generalitat Valenciana - Conselleria de Hacienda y Modeo Económico - Dirección General de Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones
Fund: European Regional Development Fund



Inclusive Occupational Schools- Vives Aprende is an integrated training program which facilitates the socio-labour integration of unemployed people at risk of socio-labor exclusion, through the development of technical and employment competences required in specific professional sector, identified as employment niche in a local labour market. 
Timeframe: 04/2017 - 10/2019
Country(ies): Spain
Fund: European Social Fund



The programme enables the combination of intensive individual guidance with demand-oriented support modules. The region-wide approach supports the development of individual long-term unemployed persons (who are particularly distant from the job market) and in addition also takes into account the whole family (including life partners and all children). Thereby individual strategies can be developed in order to break through unemployment and poverty structures that infect all family members.
Timeframe: 08/2015 - 07/2020
Country(ies): Germany
Organisation: Ministerium für Arbeit, Soziales, Gesundheit, Frauen und Familie des Landes Brandenburg
Fund: European Social Fund


Include and Activate!

Culture can do miracles when it comes to social inclusion and activation of disadvantaged social groups. “Include and Activate!”, taking place all around Slovenia, has proven that. Prisoners, addicts in drug rehabilitation, people with mental health disorders and mental disabilities are creating under mentorship of established writers, poets and illustrators. They strengthen their creative skills, but also work on self-esteem, which helps to ease their general activation in the society.
Timeframe: 01/2016 - 12/2019
Country(ies): Slovenia
Organisation: The Slovenian Book Agency
Fund: European Social Fund


Institutional Care Restructuring

The pursose of project No 08.4.1-ESFA-V-405-01-0001 ’Enabling a sustainable transition from institutional care to a system of services provided in families and communities of Lithuania’ is to create conditions that are necessary for development and implementation of effective system of transition from institutional care to services provided in family and community in Lithuania for children deprived of parental care and for mentally disabled persons (children and adults), their families.
Timeframe: 11/2015 - 12/2019
Country(ies): Lithuania
Organisation: State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour
Fund: European Social Fund


Integrated Support to Disabled people

Creating a support structure for people with disabilities through the implementation of appropriate organizational activities based on work, medicine, education, culture, sport and volunteering, and the creation of a local base with appropriate equipment, corresponding the strategies of local and non-local authorities. The project counteracts social exclusion through comprehensive and integrated continuous assistance, increases civic participation and reduces unemployment.
Timeframe: 02/2017 - 10/2018
Country(ies): Poland
Organisation: Stowarzyszenie św. Celestyna
Fund: European Regional Development Fund



The Pilgrim's Way to Santiago (Way of Saint James) is one of the busiest pilgrim routes in the world, an extensive network of roads are catalogued and cover a total of 80,000 km in 28 countries. It has received important international recognitions since its recovery in the 1980s. However, it was an impracticable path for people with disabilities or mobility difficulties. Jacob@ccess tries to make the road to Santiago accessible to these people.
Timeframe: 04/2016 - 03/2020
Country(ies): France-Spain
Organisation: Ayuntamiento de Jaca (Jaca City Hall)
Fund: European Regional Development Fund



The immigration wave in 2015 arised a question about how to integrate people with professional background into Finnish society? Thus, in 2017 we started a pilot study, where the aim was to test which actions, funding, support activities and guidance can enable work-oriented integration of immigrants. We created and tested 3-step model: charting occupational competence (step 1), integration training at workshop environments or integration at workplace (step 2) and employment (step 3).
Timeframe: 09/2016 - 08/2019
Country(ies): Finland
Organisation: Tampere Adult Education Centre
Fund: European Social Fund



Consequences of demographic developments are getting more noticeable in the German-Dutch border regions. Facilities in small villages decrease, and with them the quality of life of these villages. At the same time the identity, vitality and appeal of these villages are at stake. The partners within the project will tackle the problems beyond borders and multi-disciplinary, with the aim to keep or improve the quality of life in small villages, together with social sustainability for the future.
Timeframe: 01/2016 - 06/2019
Country(ies): Germany -Netherlands
Organisation: Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen
Fund: European Regional Development Fund (Interreg)


Labour Integration Program (PIL)

PIL has consisted of providing an orientation and training service aimed at people at risk of social exclusion and with special difficulties of labour insertion. Through the development of individualized orientation and insertion itineraries designed with a holistic nature the project has doubled the number of users served, with a significant representativeness of women among them. As a result of the project, the insertion rate of those vulnerable groups in risk of exclusion in  Baleares
Timeframe: 01/2017 - 12/2018
Country(ies): Spain
Organisation: Fundación Patronato Obrero San José
Fund: European Social Fund



LEAP main aim is to combat social exclusion and poverty through employment, capacity building, social integration and social mobility. This is achieved through coordination and networking of social stakeholders to create initiatives and tap into resources to implement social interventions within the community. LEAP’s objective is to mentor vulnerable individuals/families empowering them to make the necessary changes to finally take the ‘Leap’ forward towards a better future.
Timeframe: 05/2014 - 09/2017
Country(ies): Malta
Organisation: Ministry for the Family, Children's Rights and Social Solidarity
Fund: European Social Fund



The project in a innovative way contributes to the network of services for drug users in Slovenia, bringing several new activities. With the project cooperation among different ministries (health, social affairs, internal affairs) and institutions has substantially improved. This has brought also concrete benefits for drug users, their relatives, local communities and regions.
Timeframe: 01/2017 - 12/2022
Country(ies): Slovenia
Organisation: Ministry of Health
Fund: European Social Fund



Costs still remain a considerable barrier to access childcare facilities, especially for families with children at risk of poverty and social exclusion.“Nidi Gratis” initiative addresses the challenge of providing affordable local public childcare facilities to 30.000 lower income families. “Nidi Gratis” implements 3 key policy areas covered by the European Pillar of Social Rights: childcare and support to children from disadvantaged background work-life balance active support to employment.
Timeframe: 09/2017 - 07/2019
Country(ies): Italy
Organisation: Regione Lombardia – Directorate-General Families, Parenting Policies and Equal Opportunities
Fund: European Social Fund



The project was a joint national project which included six partial implementers around Finland. The project developed operating models which will enhance the social participation of opioid substitution patients. The OK project showed that, through network-like, multi-operating-model-focused activities between professional and patients, the social participation of opioid substitution patients could be enhanced.
Timeframe: 04/2016 - 03/2019
Country(ies): Finland
Organisation: The A-clinic Foundation
Fund: European Social Fund


Opportunity Day

The Region of Veneto has conceived of being able to provide innovative work experience by offering young NEETs, not studying or working, aged between 15 and 29 years and young people aged less than 35, by means of instruments that are normally used for managers. Over the period of a year, twelve training events were organised, as the result of a fruitful union between the outdoor methodology with narrative techniques such as storytelling, business games, coaching, etc
Timeframe: 05/2017 - 10/2018
Country(ies): Italy
Organisation: Infinite Area SRL
Fund: European Social Fund


Oral Health Support Centre - CASO

CASO Project is a social dental clinic that provides oral health care and psychosocial support to people that are socioeconomic vulnerable. The lack of equal access to oral health by the Portuguese population is a social problem and we believe that oral health is a tool for promoting social inclusion. People are excluded from society because they can’t get a job without teeth. Located in Porto, Braga and Lisbon, we already benefited more than 7000 people and performed more than 60000 treatments.
Timeframe: 07/2017 - 06/2019
Country(ies): Portugal
Organisation: Mundo a Sorrir – Associação Médicos Dentistas Solidários Portugueses
Fund: European Social Fund


Participatory sporty theatre

The aim was to promote the social inclusion of young people ages 15–25 through physical expression and theatre-based methods. Young people were at the heart of the activities, from planning to implementation with support from theatre and sports professionals throughout the process. Sports and theatre-based methods were used in the activities to enable emotional processing and self-expression.
Timeframe: 11/2016 - 06/2019
Country(ies): Finland
Organisation: Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
Fund: European Social Fund


Pavilhão Mozart

Opera in Prison is running since 2014, in EPLJ. The aim is to reduce the level of criminal recidivism of young inmates, by involving prisoners' family, promoting a proximity network that will intervene positively in the process of reintegration and social inclusion after the period of imprisonment. In 2018 the result was Mozart’s opera, Così Fan Tutte. The challenge is to leave the Mozart Pavilion inside the prison. A space of permanent creation for performing arts open to the community
Timeframe: 04/2017 - 12/2019
Country(ies): Portugal
Fund: European Social Fund



EU citizens consider immigration to be the most important challenge facing the EU. At the same time the potential of migration for rural development is becoming apparent. How can the challenges and potential at the municipal level be better addressed and utilised? The project PlurAlps brings together 10 organisations from 6 Alpine countries. Together they have developed pilot services and tools for municipalities to actively shape the integration process and bring the value of pluralism to life.
Timeframe: 11/2016 - 10/2019
Country(ies): Austria-France-Germany -Italy-Slovenia-Switzerland
Organisation: Regional Development Vorarlberg
Fund: European Regional Development Fund (Interreg)


Poprawa dostępu do usług społecznych

The main goal of the project was to extend access and increase the number of social and health services, including family support services, foster care system, entourage and care services. Thanks to co-financing from WROP 2014 +, the county of Szamotuly was able to purchase a new premises for protected apartment, where in good conditions and under care of employees of the County Family Support Center, young people will be able to prepare themselves for entering adulthood.
Timeframe: 01/2017 - 12/2018
Country(ies): Poland
Organisation: Powiat szamotulski/Powiatowe Centrum Pomocy Rodzinie
Fund: European Social Fund


Prevention of homelessness

The aim of the project is to build preventive homelessness strategies in the project cities. The project creates and enhances the experience experts’ and client participation structures, and pilots new operating methods in homelessness work. The primary working focus of the project is to develop the cities’ service structures and take advantage of the expertise of multi-actor networks. The aim is to shift the focus of the work from remediation work to the prevention of homelessness.
Finland is the only country in the EU where the number of homeless people has declined in recent years. This is mainly thanks to a carefully planned, comprehensive cooperation strategy we call "Housing First", a model bringing together homelessness NGOs, Y-Foundation, cities and the central government. Traditionally, housing has been seen as the final goal of a social recovery process. Housing First shifts the paradigm and puts housing at the top of the list, as the first step in helping homeless people to get back on their feet.
The implementing organisation of this particular project, the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA), belongs to the administrative branch of the Ministry of the Environment and has major responsibility for the implementation of Finnish housing policy. ARA grants subsidies, grants and guarantees for housing and construction and controls and supervises the use of the ARA housing stock. In addition, ARA participates in projects related to the development of housing and expertise in the housing market, and produces information services for the industry.
Timeframe: 03/2016 - 12/2019
Country(ies): Finland
Organisation: Asumisen rahoitus- ja kehittämiskeskus ARA
Fund: European Social Fund


Sum project

“Life is a game and all you have to do is know how to play it”. This metaphor summarizes the goals of the Sum project: Combo for the young project - gamified peer helping methods for improving employability. The objective of the project is to improve the employment of the young. This is done by developing a method, which utilizes gamified peer helping in order to support 16 to 29 year-old young people in their employment process. 
Timeframe: 09/2017 - 12/2019
Country(ies): Finland
Organisation: South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Xamk
Fund: European Social Fund


Support - Activisation - Inclusion

Social activisation and labor market activisiation through combaning different groups threatened by social exclusion: foreigners, youngsters leaving or about to leave foster care and people with intelectual disability. Being together and learning as a way to active participation in society. Individual aproach to each and every participant. Strenghtening together mental condition and work skills and knowledge.
Timeframe: 01/2017 - 09/2018
Country(ies): Poland
Organisation: Warsaw Family Support Center
Fund: European Social Fund



The subject of the project was the support of 40 people in terms of social and vocational rehabilitation enabling return to the labour market and minim problems connected with alcohol addiction. The project has contributed to a reduction of deficits addicted people have, to more equal opportunities for women on the labour market and to help in their inclusion in social structures. 30% of the participants returned to the labour market and 87% of people received necessary qualifications.
Timeframe: 01/2017 - 08/2018
Country(ies): Poland
Organisation: Lower Silesian Voivodship Labor Office
Fund: European Social Fund


The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter supports women in Northern Ireland and the border counties to address gender inequality in representation. In the words of a participant who is now standing for election for the first time: "I joined The Next Chapter because I believe it gives ordinary women a chance to gain confidence and knowledge of how to become involved with community, public and political life. … Anything that encourages women to participate and make their voices heard is a positive step towards equality."
Timeframe: 10/2017 - 12/2019
Country(ies): Ireland-United Kingdom
Organisation: Politics Plus
Fund: European Regional Development Fund (Interreg)


The Teamwork project

The project was meant to serve a purpose of social integration (getting out of loneliness) and encouraging proffessional work, through applying best practices in social work. Participants benefited from a wide range of therapeutic formulas aimed at improving their mental functioning and improving career readyness. Some forms of social support were also provided to the participant's families. The main goal was to assist participants in expanding their social and economic roles.
Timeframe: 09/2016 - 10/2018
Country(ies): Poland
Organisation: Marshal Office of the Pomorskie Voivodeship
Fund: European Regional Development Fund



In an effort to make tourism available to everyone, the VISITUS project aimed to make new facilities for the blind and visually impaired. Three partners used EU funding to develop innovative hardware/software applications, interactive maps and tourist guides in Braille and tell a story of how Croatia’s and Serbia’s border regions take care of people in need. VISITUS reduced barriers that only blind and visually impaired knew and allowed them to discover the rich heritage of these two countries.
Timeframe: 06/2017 - 02/2019
Country(ies): Croatia-Serbia
Organisation: City of Sombor
Fund: European Regional Development Fund and IPA


Vila D'Este Urban Requalification

The Urbanization of Vila D'Este is one of the most important housing estates in Portugal. Built between 1984 and 1986, it has 16 thousand people residing (nearly the population of 100 Portuguese cities). Given its high degradation and social situation, the project was based on a concerted development between the infrastructural rehabilitation and the implementation of actions to promote employment and equality among the population, thus increasing the economic and social situation for families.
Timeframe: 11/2009 - 07/2015
Country(ies): Portugal
Organisation: Gaiurb – Urbanismo e Habitação, EM
Fund: European Regional Development Fund


WISE Project

WISE (Women's Integrated Skills & Employment) is a project running in Donegal,helping ladies return to employment, education or self-employment. There are dedicated Employment Advisers who provide the following services, CV building, cover letter & interview skills, job brokering, access to employment and educational opportunities, self-employment guidance, support confidence and motivational building and development opportunities. With funding available for short-term accredited courses
Timeframe: 05/2017 - 04/2020
Country(ies): Ireland
Organisation: People 1st Employment and Skills
Fund: European Social Fund


Wexford Women Working

Brilliant opportunity for Women in Wexford  to gain QQI Qualifications in Healthcare and Childcare.  This opened up employment opportunities for these who were outside the labour market. The programme also helped them to increase their self confidence, combat their sense of isolation and change their lives in numerous ways by giving them them a purpose and focus and a career for life.
Timeframe: 04/2017 - 03/2019
Country(ies): Ireland
Organisation: South East Community Training & Education Centre CLG
Fund: European Social Fund


ZAZ Słoneczne Wzgórze

The subject matter of the project was extension and reconstruction of the existing premises, along with the change of use in order to adjust it to the needs of "OAW Sunny Hill and The Support Centre for Guardians of the Disabled" providing hotel and catering services, care and rehabilitation tailored to the needs of the disabled and dependent. The project involved building works, electric installations, teletechnical and sanitary fittings, supervision, promotion and other indirect expenses.
Timeframe: 09/2017 - 01/2019
Country(ies): Poland
Organisation: Municipality of the city of Tarnów
Fund: European Regional Development Fund


Äidit mukana

The aim of the project is to develop a new model of integration education for immigrant mothers. This model will enable quicker integration and employability of immigrant mothers, their families and their community. This model will also enhance the participants' socio-economic status. The immigrant mothers' family members get to see how participation in education can improve socio-economic status. This model improves equality, integration and self-image of immigrant mothers and families..
Timeframe: 08/2017 - 12/2019
Country(ies): Finland
Organisation: EdupoliPointCollege OY (Careeria)
Fund: European Social Fund