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Kulturarvet is looking after objects and people

For 40 years Kulturarvet was run by the Nordiska Museet. Three years ago, when the museum wanted to concentrate its operations to Stockholm, Coompanion initially undertook the task of transforming operations so they could become social enterprises. Falun municipality is now continuing its efforts to integrate people who find themselves very much outside of the labour market.



Caption: Kulturarvet’s supervisors Claes Brand and Thomas Bäcke and project participant Henri Halldin at a window. Photo: Elisabet Johansson

“In the end, the whole or parts of the operations will become a social enterprise. For over thirty years operations never had any profitability requirements. Now we have to create an operation with a budget that works, the transformation will make completely different demands on the participants” says Kulturarvet’s project leader Susan Olsén.

Kulturarvet’s transformation

Social enterprises are operated by those who work there and focus on a democratic organization and equal values. The employees work full-time, but their workload is based on their own working capacity. Social enterprises should be profitable, but all profits will be reinvested in the company.

"Reorganisation is necessary, and above all it is a project. It swings back and forth, some ideas work and some may have to be dismissed," says Susan Olsén and speaks about the participants in the project that have had difficulty in finding jobs due to illness or prolonged unemployment.

Despite the difficulties, two social enterprises have already been developed in the project. Linghed Service ekonomisk förening (cooperative society), which performs household services, and Arbetsrehab Dalarna ekonomisk förening which works with construction and building maintenance. Both enterprises are newly started, are not quite yet standing on their own two feet, but are being supported by the project.

"That is the dilemma that a social enterprise faces. Such companies have longer start-up times and it is necessary that public bodies such as municipalities are prepared to support them," says Susan Olsen who then talks about what is supposed to be the third social enterprise, Kulturarvet, which will most likely take the form of an employee cooperative.

High ambitions

Another goal is that 180 people will have received work-rehabilitation during the three years the project lasts for. With barely a year left, 162 people have already passed through the project.

"It was the project partner Coompanion Dalarna that set up the quantitative targets; I thought they were pure fantasy figures when I first saw them. But now it looks like we will achieve them.

In addition to the results, so far 17 people have found gainful employment and five have started studying; but for Susan Olsén, the most important thing is to have the right person in the right place.

"In the project we discover together where they are best suited, i.e. whether they should continue in the sickness insurance scheme or if they have the ability to work, she says.

In the future she hopes that the municipality will become aware of the social enterprises and adopt a policy to take into account the social aspect with regard to their procurement, as they do in many other municipalities.

"The municipality is then being helpful, and if they become aware of the social enterprises and a win-win situation arises, then many people will move from being dependent upon support to a position of self sufficiency," she says.

More information

 (Projectbank at esf.se), on their own website (http://www.kulturarvet.se/)