A little story to create local inspiration and innovation. (Part 1)

inspiration and innovation

People with ID becomes the resource in languishing village

In the early 1990s, a hotel went bankrupt in the small community of Arentsminde. Arentsminde is a small Danish village with a total of approx. 400 inhabitants and located in the middle of nowhere.

There was nothing special about this – that fate has affected many small village hotels and shops in Denmark over the past 20, 30 and 40 years.

But some of the 400 citizens of Arentsminde thought it differently. Because although the inhabitants apparently did not use the hotel enough in their daily lives – they still thought it had left them with a problem.

Where would they hold their round birthdays, silver weddings, golden weddings and other big family parties.

So, based on common local citizen’s need, the inhabitants established a cooperative. The Cooperative  subsequently bought the hotel and established it as a socio-economic company in 1992. The company offered inclusiveness and jobs for citizens with physical or mental disabilities.  The cooperative currently has 280 shareholders.

It was not new to the local inhabitants of Arentsminde to witness the bankruptcy of other important unifying businesses in the local community. It was therefore not new that the citizens responded jointly and bought up some of these companies, in order to subsequently convert the company’s operations into a socio-economic enterprise.

Already in the 1980s, local residents had taken over the grocery store to restart the grocery store as a socio-economic business in 1983, with jobs for citizens with physical or mental disabilities. 

Increasing relocation also hit Arentsminde as it affected many other smaller villages in Denmark. It became harder and harder to sell the small village houses. People were looking to the bigger cities.

 In response to this slow depopulation ofrentsminde, in 1994 the citizens’ group established  the socio-economic activity: Råd og Dåd (Council & deed.)

Råd og Dåd (Councils and Deeds) are a work, living and leisure offer in Arentsminde for people who cannot cope with the demands of the traditional labour market – and/or for people who need support to make their everyday lives work.  Councils and deeds began buying up the houses in Arentsminde that could not be sold to traditional civic and buying groups. The next buyers/occupants were people with ID.

inspiration and innovation

In the video presented on the 2nd Part of the article – 3 employees at Skovgaards Hotel tells about their job and what it means to them.

Stay tuned for Part 2!