Urban Local Action Groups in Poland: Monofunctional social activities within Community Led Local Development
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The article presents the basic characteristics of Urban Local Action Groups (ULAGs) in Poland. ULAGs are associations of citizens and legal entities representing different interest groups: the social sector (organisations and residents), the economic sector (local entrepreneurs) and the public sector (state and local government institutions), each operating in accordance with the assumptions of the Community-Led Local Development approach financed by the European Union (EU) and covering the entire area of a single city or several urban units. The ULAGs establish a bottom-up development strategy for a given area and obtain the funds required for its implementation by organising local grant competitions, in which the decision-making council (project selection committee) composed of local stakeholder representatives selects projects offered by local entities for funding. Only 7 ULAGs have been established in Poland at the beginning of the 2014-2020 EU Programming Period. The research described herein made use of the method of content analysis for the purpose of studying Local Development Strategies (LDS) prepared by ULAGs for the years 2015-2022. All investigated ULAGs were financed from the European Social Fund. Their activities were typically focused on social issues, including such aimed at social and professional activation and social inclusion of the inhabitants. The examined ULAG activities did not display the typical features of neo-endogenous integrated development, as they were prevented from utilizing EU funds for investment activities or infrastructure development. The article discusses the basic goals and tasks planned in the strategies of these organisations.
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