COPE’s Final Conference: an enriching space for sharing results and to create ideas for the future

On 15 and 16 of May 2024, the COPE partners were together in Brussels for the Final Stakeholder Conference, hosted by the Autonomous Province of Trento. This dissemination event was attended by almost 50 persons on-site and online.

These days allowed to discuss the project results, present sustainability ideas for the future, and deeply discuss the baseline of the intervention developed in the project: social prescribing, not forgetting the involvement of stakeholders in panel discussions and working groups.

On the morning of the 15th, and after a warm reception from Gabriele Pedrini, from the EU Liaison Office of the Autonomous Province of Trento and Olivia Balagna from the Coordination Team, Emanuele Torri, COPE Project Scientific Coordinator (APSS) presented the main aims of our project, now closely to its end. With more than 600 young people involved in the pilot sites in Italy and Portugal, we can say that the project was a success.

The first panel of presentations focused on the scientific and methodological framework of COPE. Pirkko Pyörälä, from Directorate-General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, started the presentations, highlighting the challenges that are face nowadays by young people in Europe. And between several measures that need to be implemented, Social Prescribing arises as one of them, and this was presented by Liza Jarvis, from the Social Prescribing Youth Network. Marcello Bertotti, representative of the COPE Scientific Advisory Group, and Anita Paza, from the Project Evaluation, followed the panel presentations, continuing to discuss Social Prescribing methodology and how it is assessed.

This panel was followed by another one, centred on the pilot experiences in Italy and Portugal. Maria Marques and Regina Alves presented the COPE experience in Portugal and its great results and challenges. They were followed by Sara Paternoster and Stefania Pedrotti that reflected on the pilot experience in Italy. It was great to hear testimonies from young people who have taken part in the project and realise how it has improved their lives, their self-esteem and their motivation!

The afternoon of the first day, continued with a panel focused on the role of the Link Workers, with the participation of Paulo Guimarães and Giulia Giagnoni Link Workers from Portugal and Italy who talked in first voice of their experience and results.

The implementation of a Relational proximity community network in both countries was also at the conference’s central stage, as well as the Social Prescribing perspectives in NEET engagement that were deeply discussed during the afternoon, together with sustainability strategies for the future. In fact, understanding the lessons learned from COPE and creating useful ideas for the sustainability of its results was the goal of a very interesting roundtable with many inputs from the public! And before Emanuele Torri closed the conference, it was time to also think on what can be done in the future, to ensure that no one is left behind.

On the second day of the conference, a Stakeholders World Café was organised. This methodology involves the participants in small group discussions to share ideas and generate solutions on specific topics. The aim of this Stakeholders World Café was to understand what participants can do to ensure sustainability in their own context. Some priorities such as funding for the interventions, the recognition of Social Prescribing as a system/service or the need to simplify bureaucracy levels to improve the use of resources were pointed out by the participants. The results will be integrated in a strategic document together with a SWOT and a Delphi analysis.

This  event was a huge success and it was a great joy for all the consortium partners to see all the work done on the last 30 months together and showing important results!