In 2002, the Town Council of Alcalá la Real identified a social demand to create gardening workshops for a large group of people with disabilities in the area, for this reason the CEE was created, where the activity of the gardening workshop evolved to incorporate this group into the labour market, over the years it has been acquiring more responsibilities and expanding its staff.
- Name and Surname: José Bermúdez.
- Birth Year: 1967.
- Gender: Male.
- Education: Business studies, with experience in business consultancy and auditing. Since 2010 in the city council of Alcalá la Real, 7 years in the EWC with administrative, labour, accounting and management and planning functions.
- Address/map: Casa Pineda. Calle Real 48, 23680 Alcalá la Real (Jaén).
- Farm Area (in ha): 10.000 m2.
- Date of establishment of the social farm: 2002.
- No of workers: 22 permanent workers contracts (70% with disabilities)+10% of temporary workers.
Website and social networks accounts:
Farm general description
The EWC has two different teams related to two activities. One of 10-15 people for street cleaning with its manager, officers and labourers. And another team for gardening tasks and maintenance and creation of green areas in Alcalá. They care 10,000 m2 of public green areas (squares, roads, parks, public roads, etc.) in the metropolitan area of Alcalá la Real and its municipal district.
The aim is to provide training and job placement opportunities for people with special difficulties in accessing the labour market, mainly people with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities (70%).
The incorporation into the labour market is done through traditional means of recruitment with personal interviews, tests, training (tools, prevention, motivation) and tutoring, which enables a positive personal development and labour insertion to develop a professional profile.
In addition to the permanent staff, there is a temporary employment pool to cover seasonal needs. This pool guarantees 3-4 months of work per year to an additional 10% of workers, trying to generate rotations to maximise the opportunities for training and mentoring experience for local people.
The EWC maintains two work teams (municipal cleaning and maintenance of green areas), each team has different work philosophies, tools and locations. Each branch of activity has its own tutors and planners, who supervise the tasks to be carried out (watering, pruning, weeding, planting, etc.), with individual monitoring of each worker, adapting the tasks to each person and taking care of the risk prevention associated with them.
The EWC has a greenhouse for the production of plants that are used in the renovation of the material needed for the city’s gardens. At times they have considered expanding their areas of action to other municipalities or to the private sector. For the moment they continue with the municipal public sphere.
Social Farm Manager Role
The manager carries out administrative, accounting, tax, labour and purchasing activities. He also manages the planning of tasks and professional development of the EWC staff, meeting their day-to-day needs. At the same time, he acts as a link and intermediary with the city council of Alcalá, families, stakeholders and providers.
Social Farm Tutor Role
They are trained professionals from a technical point of view (irrigation, pruning, prevention, tools, diseases, etc.) but they must have team management skills and motivational capacity. They stress the importance of the work to be done, potential self-confidence and responsibilityto facilitate the integration and satisfaction of the whole team.
Relationships with Social/Health Services
The municipality has its own social and health services, they has considered the opportunity to extend its services to staff to meet their needs for guidance, integration, support and personal development. Thus, a permanent accompaniment is proposed that allows them to be listened to and supported, with a subsequent action plan that allows them to improve their personal and work environment.
Relationships with families
Families are usually more involved in the initial phases from the selection process to their integration in the EWC. Regular meetings are held to maintain contact and facilitate the interrelationship between employees and families. However, families are usually the ones who serve as contacts when specific personal or administrative needs arise.
Relationships with Social Agriculture Networks
There is not much interaction with other EWCs in the region, although it would be interesting to carry out regular networking and exchange activities to share experiences, define joint protocols and identify opportunities for improvement. This exchange would allow to know how others work, to value own work, to get out of the routine, to generate new ideas that allow evolution and own motivation.
The aim is to generate the opportunity for training and labour integration for the worker. The EWC model is interesting from a social point of view because of the service to the community and the satisfaction of its citizens, and from an economic point of view, it generates bonuses and savings for a city council, compared to maintaining these activities in other less sustainable ways.
The social sensitivity of the municipality and changes in the formation of the council often generate needs for change and expansion of activities, so that the EWC is always evolving depending on the needs of the council (expansion of spaces, tasks and schedules). This makes it possible to expand the staff and make the work teams more dynamic and generate more opportunities for employability.
Suggestions for managing a social farm
It is important to start with a training workshop or occupational centre to generate concerns and identify people and opportunities. It is very important to have support and follow-up services until full incorporation into the EWC. Temporary labour pools help to optimise opportunities for the local community.