Life in "Star Point-Barn of Perjesi" (Csillagpont-Perjési Pajta) – The role of volunteerism in the integration of disadvantaged youthin Somogyszentpál, Hungary

Gábor Vidák


Capacity-expansion and networking of volunteer host organisations were two important objectives of the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture programme. One of the target sites was the "Star Point – Barn of Perjesi" (Csillagpont/Perjési Pajta), which has been operating in Somogyszentpál since 2022 and was funded by an EU grant for the social inclusion and integration of disadvantaged youth living in segregated communities and below poverty line. The Social Clinic Association (Társadalomklinka Egyesület) of Pécs has utilized the service of its volunteers from the start to implement the programme, and after its completion, the art and community centre will be operated by external volunteers. The aim of this case study is to illustrate the challenges of operating a community centre in a disadvantaged neighbourhood and the opportunities for volunteering in such a setting. I will describe not only the implementation and results of a community development project, but also the – relatively – regular volunteering work that grew out of member and action volunteering, based on community development and social work. Volunteers were identified as member, external, and professional volunteers based on their participation in the programme.Initially, action volunteers were actively involved in the implementation of the programme elements in the municipality; however, the process changed and regular and episodic volunteers emerged. Thanks to the project and the civil society partners, volunteering as a human resource has been the solution for youth and families living in extreme poverty in the municipality.

Keywords: disadvantaged situation, segregated living situation, social inclusion, social responsibility, volunteering, Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture