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May I help you

Kainuu Region & Kajaani Municipality, Finland

“May I help you” brings young people, particularly those at risk of social exclusion, into contact with elderly people who need assistance with everyday tasks. The aim is to decrease social exclusion for both parties, while at the same time increasing the capacity of elderly people to remain in their own homes. 

Bringing young and old together to reduce social exclusion

May I help you aims to improve the situations of both young people and the elderly and addresses the demographic challenges of aging population and social exclusion. The approach is designed to be implemented through partnerships between associations, however at the time of writing there were only a few examples in place. The Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (SOSTE) is currently leading the dissemination and scaling-up of the approach.

Mutual benefit

As implementation and scaling-up of the approach is ongoing, there is not yet clear evidence of its effects. It is expected that it will lead to decreased social exclusion and improved wellbeing for both the group that is receiving help (elderly people) and those helping (young people).

Collaborative process forms the basis for new ideas

The approach was developed as part of a project led by the Finnish Association of Local and Regional Authorities and The Social and Healthcare Division of Kainuu Region who organised a series of co-creation workshop with local actors aimed at developing new ideas for service provision. It is likely that the allocation of resources to this process, along with the ability to involve such a variety of actors, was central in allowing for the development of the approach. The role of local associations has also been a key enabler, as they have contributed with local knowledge on topics such as service needs.

Set-up costs set the stage for ongoing cooperation

The resources of the big actors involved were central to the development of the idea. In the implementation phase to follow the idea is that no money will change hands but that associations will work together to coordinate the activity.

Key learnings for municipalities

The development phase of this example show how service-design and co-creation approaches can be used by higher level public authorities to engage local actors to develop new ideas. As the implementation was in its early stages at the time of writing, it is not possible to identify policy implications. However, during the development stage a variety of regulatory issues were identified that may present challenges for implementation. The Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health is working on solving these issues as it takes over the responsibility for scaling up the approach.

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Page last updated September 2016.