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VARCITIES Consortium Meeting in Novo Mesto (SI)

Project partners met in Novo Mesto, Slovenia on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th of March for VARCITIES’ 7th progress meeting.

Representatives from the seven cities and 17 organisations that compose VARCITIES’ consortium met face to face to review the progress made in the project over the past six months and discuss the implementation of the different Visionary Solutions developed in VARCITIES’ seven Pilots.

First Day

Pilot updates

The first day focused on the co-implementation of the Visionary Solutions and each Pilot city, together with their Pilot experts, took the floor to showcase the real progress made on the ground. We are happy to report that our Pilot Cities of Skellefteå (Sweden) and Novo Mesto (Slovenia) are done with the implementation of their respective Visionary Solutions: they are now fully operational, providing direct health and well-being benefits to the users of their pilot sites. Castelfranco Veneto (Italy), Chania (Greece), Dundalk (Ireland), Leuven (Belgium), Gżira (Malta), will finalise their implementation of their respective solutions in the coming months. We are aiming to have most if not all our Visionary Solutions operational in the next six months

Knowledge exchange workshop

To promote the knowledge exchange between VARCITIES’ partners, project partner E2ARC, who coordinates the implementation of VARCITES’ Visionary Solutions across 7 Pilot sites, facilitated a Workshop on the Lessons Learned from the Implementation Process. Each Pilot team was invited to reflect on what worked best, what external factors impacted the process, what expertise was required, which internal processes they had to follow, etc. This self-reflection exercise will also inform the upcoming replication activities of VARCITIES.

In the afternoon, VARCITIES’ partners explored the Pilot site in Novo Mesto, known as the recreational area of Češča Vas, located in the western part of Novo mesto, a mere 2-3 km from the city centre.

They were welcomed by Gregor Macedoni, Mayor of Novo Mesto, who presented the development strategy of the municipality for the area. A former military complex, it was abandoned in the early nineties and later reclaimed by the Municipality of Novo Mesto to develop a comprehensive sport and leisure complex in the area, with a renovated Velodrome, a new swimming-pool complex attached to an Olympic Sport Center, horse-riding facilities and a number of outdoor activities suitable for children, youth, the elderly and people with special needs.

Following a tour of the facilities led by Peter Geršič VARCITIES’ Pilot Team Leader in Novo Mesto, Project Partners were introduced in detail to the five Visionary Solutions that are currently operational in Novo Mesto, which include nature restoration and landscaping, the creation of sustainable forest trails, an integrated programme of activities, IoT tools, and a centralised information management system. Project partners were thoroughly impressed by the Pilot site and how the Municipality of Novo Mesto and its partners managed to leverage diverse complementary funding sources to finance the different interventions at their site, VARCITIES supporting the most innovative ones.

Second Day

On the Second Day, Project partners reconvened to review the work performed in the last 6 months within the VARCITIES project.

E2ARC, who coordinates the co-creation of VARCITIES’ Visionary Solutions across seven Pilots presented the overall implementation status, highlighting risks and contingency measures. They were happy to report that us of 29 Visionary Solutions, 18 are fully operational! Their presentation focused on the new task introduced last year as part of an amendment to to VARCITIES’ grant agreement, which will see the development of an online tool to support the replication of VARCITIES’ Visionary Solutions.

Read the press release here.

[Original source]

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