Wednesday 06.12.2023 ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ

Corfu Special Needs Association: No Gouvia summer camp again this year

summer camp
12 Jul 2023 / 20:04

CORFU. No preparations have been made by the Municipality - No steps have been taken to recruit personnel or arrange food supplies.

Following the Association of Parents, Guardians and Friends of People with Special Needs' visit to Gouvia 'Stamatis Desyllas' summer camp on 11 July, it was sad to find that, up to now, absolutely nothing has been done to ensure that the camp can open on time - only the NAOK racing boats are there changing the reason for its operation - and no steps have been taken to recruit personnel or arrange food supplies.

Our Association believes that the Corfu Gouvia summer camp, having in mind the its current image, will not operate for the fourth consecutive year (one of which it was operating without the necessary legal requirements). Responsible for this is the Central Corfu Municipality, which is constantly showing its incompetence, social indifference and lack of basic social sensitivity to children with special needs, who will not have the opportunity to enjoy the sea, have fun and meet children without special needs, 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.

We do not accept the excuse that Central Corfu Mayor Meropi Ydraiou and the Deputy Mayor for Social Policy Andreas Skoupouras kept telling us all the previous years, as well as this year, that they do not find employees, for the following reasons:

The award 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.

Last year the advertisement for the recruitment of staff took place in August, as it will probably happen this year as well, towards the end of the camp period, while the award was made 3 months ago and the lack of interest is normal, because no employee wants to work for a month.

If there was interest and political will, the work in the camp and the steps to recruit personnel and arrange food supplies should have been made in April or May, so that there would be interest from people to work for 5-6 months and the camp would be ready by the end of the procedures.

Which seasonal business hires staff at the end of the season?

There is a great responsibility, especially from the camp president Vassilis Melidis, for the condition of the building and camping equipment, because neither maintenance has been done nor have the beds, tents, mattresses, etc. been taken to the sun so that they do not dry and rot.

The fact that the abovementioned maintenance was not done last year or this year, shows the Central Corfu Municipality's intention not to operate the Gouvia summer camp.

The Municipality did not make the beach of the Gouvia summer camp, which is for children with special needs, accessible.

The Municipality did not seek any cooperation with our Association, nor did it inform it about possible problems last and this year and our Association, with 30 years of experience, is responsible for the camp period of children with special needs, representing the Panhellenic Federation of Parents, Guardians and Friends of People with Special Needs Associations.

We had also informed the former Deputy Minister for Employment Domna Michalidou about this situation during her visit in Corfu last year, in the presence of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor for Social Policy.

The Ministry of Labour, apart from the award, is also funding the Municipality with sufficient money and it is sad that it does not have the appropriate space and equipment. It is sad that it has funding but does not operate the summer camp, an important social project.

We are asking ourselves if the implementation of the following objectives set by the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs does not touch the Municipality:

- The equal participation of people with special needs and the removal of social exclusion.

- The socialisation of people with special needs and the improvement of their health.

- The relief and support of the families of people with special needs.

- The participation of people with special needs living in closed care institutions.

Finally, is there no social sensitivity, no political remorse for depriving children with special needs of valuable goods that they are entitled to as equal citizens of Corfu's society as provided by Greek and European legislation and especially the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

Who will answer our children who are anxiously asking us when the summer camp will open?


The President Spyros Zoumboulidis

The Secretary Maria Kontou