Special Needs Association complaining once again about Gouvia summer camp
CORFU. Special Needs Association: Is the non-operation of the Gouvia summer camp political incompetence or social indifference on the part of the Central Corfu Municipality?
Corfu Association of Parents, Guardians and Friends of those with Special Needs said that absolutely no preparations have been done in order for the Gouvia 'Stamatis Desyllas' summer camp to open. It sent another letter of protest, as it visited the area and found that there has been no progress of the work, while the NAOK racing boats are still in the same place, which is being used as a storage area.
The Association board is wondering whether this is political incompetence or social indifference on the part of the Central Corfu Municipality.
The Association's statement:
The Association of Parents, Guardians and Friends of People with Special Needs visited the Gouvia 'Stamatis Desyllas' summer camp on 11 July and found that absolutely nothing has been done to ensure that the camp can open. The tents, the beds, the mattresses are still in the dining area, while the camp area was occupied by the NAOK racing boats. Thus, the Association issued a press release in order to raise awareness and put pressure on the Municipal Authority to open the camp even with a delay.
Our Association visited again the Gouvia 'Stamatis Desyllas' summer camp on Monday 25 July and it was sad to find that after 15 days absolutely nothing has been done in order for the camp to open. The children with special needs will not have the opportunity to enjoy the sea and have fun in the camp, while their parents will also not have the chance to enjoy a break or holiday or take care of any needs and obligations they may have.
The assignment to the municipalities for the implementation of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs' camp programme was made in time, but 3 whole months the Central Corfu Municipality did absolutely nothing, while other municipalities have already finished the first camp period.
Unfortunately, something similar happened in previous years as in 2019 there was no catering for the children and thus supermarkets, hotels and the Corfu Social Cooperative provided food voluntarily with incomplete meals, in 2020 the Municipality did not take part due to the pandemic and in 2021 the camp opened late and was unsafe, while there were only 9 staff instead of 30 and without any doctor or nurse. For this reason, the Association board, respecting the safety and health of the children with special needs, has decided unanimously once again not to take part in the summer camp programme in Gouvia this year.
We informed the Deputy Minister for Employment & Social Affairs Domna Michalidou about this whole situation, hoping that there will be a change, as well as the Panhellenic Federation of Societies of Parents and Guardians of People with Special Needs (POSGAMEA).
In 2000, our Association carried out 105-million drachmas upgrading projects in the camp area with a Ministry of Health funding which was given to POSGAMEA and since then no other actual work has been carried out despite the funding from the Ministry of Employment.
The timely assignment, the securing of funding from the Ministry of Employment and the fact that other municipalities' summer camps of the same programme have already started, do not justify this year's delay in the start of the Gouvia summer camp. The Mayor Meropi Ydraiou, the former camp president Spyros Neratzis, the current camp president Vassilis Melidis, as well as the Deputy Mayor for Social Policy Andreas Skoupouras, are all responsible for this situation. In fact, we asked the latter to intervene and express his opinion on the matter, since he belongs to and is supported by the special needs movement, but to date he has done nothing.
We are asking ourselves if the implementation of the following objectives set and assigned by the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs does not touch them:
1. The equal participation of people with special needs and the removal of social exclusion.
2. The socialization of people with special needs and the improvement of their health.
3. The relief and support of the families of people with special needs.
4. The participation of people with special needs living in closed care institutions.
Finally, we are particularly saddened by the fact that this year our Association did not receive any information or invitation for cooperation for the operation of the camp, unlike in previous years.