Ålesund throws low-income families a lifeline / News / The Foreigner

Ålesund throws low-income families a lifeline. Card gives access to free cultural activities. A unique project in Ålesund to help families with little money could be extended to include the rest of the country; but not for quite a while yet.Actions speak louder than words “I got so fed up with just talking about doing something,” Ann-Kristin Bekkevoll, the initiative-taker tells Aftenposten.

aalesund, culture, activities, low-income, welfare, poor, children, families, soria, moria, government, norwegian



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Ålesund throws low-income families a lifeline

Published on Wednesday, 16th December, 2009 at 05:00 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

Card gives access to free cultural activities.

Opening of Ålesund football stadium
Opening of Ålesund football stadium
Photo: Ranveig/Wikimedia Commons


A unique project in Ålesund to help families with little money could be extended to include the rest of the country; but not for quite a while yet.

Actions speak louder than words

“I got so fed up with just talking about doing something,” Ann-Kristin Bekkevoll, the initiative-taker tells Aftenposten.

50 children so far have received a so-called event card (opplevelseskort), where they can choose to attend up to nine different activities and/or cultural events free of charge.

Although beginnings were small – with an aquarium and an amusement park being first out – the scheme has grown to include the town’s council-owned cultural institutions, cinemas, the public swimming pool, and museums.

Aalesund football team has now also joined, giving five free games per season for children and a friend or parent to watch.

No short-term promises

But even though both the council and local division of NAV (the Norwegian Welfare and Labour Administration) have joined the scheme’s supporting team, a country-wide implementation looks to be a long way off.

The Culture Department says it’s not on the cards for now, though, despite the fact they want to stimulate measures that offer this group of children a proper amount of activities and cultural events, according to Roger Solheim, their political advisor.

In their recent Soria Moria II declaration, the government promised to put measures into effect that would allow children and adolescents from low-income families to be able to participate on an equal level to others; concluding that children of families on welfare shall have an independent right to support for these activities/events.

As mentioned in a previous article, research has shown that there were approximately 85,000 children living in poverty in 2006. This contravenes article 27 of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Aålesund’s model is to be presented to the Culture Department just after New Year.



Published on Wednesday, 16th December, 2009 at 05:00 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: aalesund, culture, activities, low-income, welfare, poor, children, families, soria, moria, government, norwegian.





  
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