GRAPE project: A Green Social Action Plann for Sifnos island

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The climate crisis is getting worse. Extreme weather events are hitting many regions of the planet with intensity and frequency attributed to the accelerating collapse of the climate. Characteristically, the Secretary General of the UN declares: “the climate crisis is over, we have entered the time when the world is boiling”. The climate crisis and the threat of extinction of many species come to meet the islands with a series of other problems: over-tourism, over-building, weak social infrastructure, a rapidly changing landscape, water problems, occupation of beaches by sunbeds and coastal degradation ecosystem, an agriculture that is shrinking for many reasons and increasing the risk of a food crisis.

And yet there are suggestions and solutions. In this logic, the Wind of Renewal – the social cooperative enterprise for the promotion of the green and social economy – prepared through a participatory process a comprehensive proposal for a GREEN SOCIAL ACTION PLAN for Sifnos, as a proposal for the transition of the island to a more green and socially just and resilient model, with the role of the social economy being particularly important. The GREEN SOCIAL ACTION PLAN for Sifnos was formed within the framework of the GRAPE – COSME program in which ANEMOS ANNEOSSIS and the Municipality of Sifnos participate.

The GREEN SOCIAL ACTION PLAN for Sifnos was prepared by ANEMOS ANANEOSIS / WIND OF RENEWAL as a proposal to the Municipality, the stakeholders, institutions and citizens of Sifnos but it can, when completed, be a pilot for similar action plans for other islands. The proposal is the result of diagnosis, SWOT analysis, research, several discussions, workshops and conferences, for 2 years, but also the utilization of good practices from other similar regions, especially the regions of the GRAPE program partners and small islands participating in the SMILO network.

The objective of the Action Plan

The aim of the Action Plan is to launch a debate on strategic issues for the future of Sifnos and in general small islands that have similar issues. And to help address them through a strategic green and social transition towards a more sustainable and resilient model.
What we know as a small island, society, landscape and environment is in a process of transition and change without having discussed the various dynamics that drive the changes nor in which direction the citizens of Sifnos want these changes to be directed. The same is true for many other islands.
The Action Plan includes findings and proposals that may be familiar to many residents as they are widely discussed and captured in the SWOT analysis, but these issues must be addressed in a systematic, organized and coherent manner.
Evidence is presented regarding the impact of the climate crisis on the Eastern Mediterranean and Sifnos (reduction of rainfall, reduced crop yields, heat waves, increase of sea temperature etc.) as well as phenomena that have not yet discussed among the local community, such as the gradual expansion of invasive species in the marine ecosystem of Sifnos, such as the German-salpa fish with toxic fins, the lionfish and the toxic lagocephalus sceleratus that are likely to dominate other fish species in the future and shrink the algae. Also presented are data, obtained from a recent on-site recording in the context of a research program, for the shrinkage by 50-89% depending on the areas examined, of the Posidonia meadows as a result of the moorings of tourist boats in the bays of Sifnos (Faros, Platy Gialos, Vathi). Further research is also needed on the long-term effects on the marine ecosystem from the recent increase in sea temperature. And of course, a strategy and good practices for climate adaptation is very urgent.
Key elements of the Action Plan of concern are: the landscape, land uses and the gradual reform of the tourist model from summer tourism (which will shrink in some years due to the heatwaves and high temperatures that will prevail in summer), the uncontrolled and unplanned promotion towards a sustainable “cool tourism”, mainly in spring and autumn, which will respect the island’s strengths and will mainly focus on forms of:
ecotourism , given that the in good condition and unique for an island NATURA area, the network of 200 km of paths, the water paths (springs, wells, watermills, gournes  / water tanks, the traditional fair and sustainable water sharing system etc) and the numerous herbs and aromatic plants of the island are a material basis that can support such a model,
– agritourism, which will also help in the recovery of agriculture, using the important tradition of gastronomy and cultivation of local seeds and varieties, a model of traditional agriculture that is very close to those of ecological agriculture and the european strategy “from farm to fork”
– cultural tourism, following the paths of pottery workshops, ancient towers, windmills and watermills (and their technology), traditional – bioclimatic settlements, buildings of great importance (agricultural buildings, churches and monasteries) as well as numerous mines.
There are suggestions for:
regenerative agriculture in Sifnos, the importance of local seeds but also the contribution of olive cultivation, the preservation of drystones and the protection of nature and healthy soil to climate protection,
new environmental roles for farmers and other professions in the context of the green transition.
The climate crisis and adaptation to the new climate conditions – Energy transition
The Action Plan also includes serious issues that have hardly been discussed in Sifnos, such as the effects of the climate crisis in the Mediterranean and consequently in Sifnos based on the most up-to-date studies and findings of scientific studies and international organizations. Or about the need for organized preparation and adaptation of Sifnos (and of course not only Sifnos and the islands) to the new climate conditions that are becoming more and more extreme and will affect all aspects of life and the economy in the coming decades.
2023 is a turning point. In the summer and autumn of 2023 we experienced very intense weather phenomena in various Mediterranean (and not only) countries. Greece is also affected by very high temperatures, by wildfires and large floods that tested the strength of all the country’s structures as well as its infrastructure. The social and economic damage is enormous and a large part of the country (Evros, Thessaly) will need years to recover, while other areas have suffered unprecedented disasters in recent years (Evia, Rhodes, etc.). After 2023 nothing will be the same. In other words, we have entered the era where crises are the new normality and societies have not prepared for it.
In the Action Plan, proposals are formulated for the participation of Sifnos in the energy and green transition, and the exit from fossil fuels by 2035.
In addition to the proposals made for the acceleration of energy efficiency and the shift to adapted applications of renewable energy sources, as well as the signing of cooperation agreements between the Wind of Renewal and the other partners of the program in matters of energy and green transition, social  resilience and agro-food sector, two innovative proposals are also made for the creation of:
an open climate ecological laboratory where the changes that take place in the island ecosystem and especially in the NATURA region due to the climate crisis will be monitored systematically and over time, and good climate adaptation practices will be researched, utilizing solutions based on nature based solutions)
an open laboratory for the search and testing of energy applications of renewable energy sources that are best suited, adapted to the characteristics of small and medium-sized islands.
The role of drystone in relation to regenerative agriculture, soil protection, groundwater enrichment, defense against extreme weather events and cultural heritage
The Action Plan highlights two new approaches:
– Recovery of cultivation and agriculture in general in Sifnos, through highlighting its role in climate protection (e.g. absorption of greenhouse gases through olive cultivation or healthy soil) as well as in the restoration of nature and the preservation of genetic diversity (recording and strengthening the cultivation of local seeds and varieties that we have recorded under the SMILO-MED program and the Action Plan under GRAPE)
– Maintenance of the drystones walls network in the context of an essential policy of climate mitigation and adaptation, tackling the climate crisis and strengthening the defense against extreme weather phenomena (resilience) . However, the local society needs training, transfer of know-how and knowledge as well as  (new) financial and other tools for the maintenance of a network of 2-3000 km of drystone walls which is the work of several thousand years (since antiquity) but also of tens of thousands of people. The knowledge and techniques of drystone walls have been included in the Intangible World Cultural Heritage of the relevant UNESCO list.
One of the proposals being explored is the creation of an “autumn school for drystone walls techniques” for the theoretical and practical training of those interested, based in Sifnos, and the organization of similar actions in other islands. This proposal comes to respond to the need not to lose the still existing knowledge and experience but also to the “demand” that exists for such an institution, as shown by the 3-day workshop and the discussions on drystone walls its importance organized by Wind of Renewal in Sifnos 24-26/10/2023, with the participation of at least 40 interested parties from other islands of the Cyclades.
Protection and sustainable management of the natural wealth and the NATURA area of ​​Sifnos

Sifnos has a very interesting natural area (NATURA 2000). The Action Plan highlights proposals so that its protection and management contribute not only to the preservation of the important ecosystem but also to the creation of green jobs and the well-being and sustainable future of the entire island.

The great importance of the social economy for the green transition, strengthening social structures and upgrading the capabilities of the local community
The Action Plan contains proposals regarding the role of the social economy in support of:
– climate policy
– regenerative agriculture,
– social services, especially the creation of new care services for the elderly who face many problems,
– resilience to new health threats accompanying climate collapse,
– the green transition, environmental infrastructure, eco-tourism and guided tours, protection and management of the Natura area and natural resources
– the shift towards a more sustainable model of tourism, guided tours and the creation of new itineraries (cultural, local production, ancient technology, etc.)
– supporting structures for the local community and finding financial tools to support the changes required in terms of education, training, investments for the green transition, exploring (new) sources of funding for green infrastructure and social structures.  
The next steps

The Action Plan was made public in early August for comments and additions. It was sent to over 100 people who had participated in various phases of consultation. It was made known through the Newsletter that Anemos Anenoiosis sends to approximately 4000 people as well as through social media.

Key elements of the Action Plan were also presented publicly at various opportunities:

– Conference “Agriculture and new farmers” – Sifnos 15-17 of September: presentation: “Regenerative traditional agriculture, cultivation of local species, conservation of drystones walls: their contribution to mitigating the climate crisis and protection against extreme weather events – Proposals in the framework of the GREEN SOCIAL ACTION PLAN for Sifnos – GRAPE and SMILO-MED programs”

– 3 days events for  maintenance of dry stone walls (workshop on the field, films presentation and discussions) – Sifnos 24, 25,26 of October,

– Conference on Landscape of Sifnos – 27 October 2023).

Articles about the Action Plan were published in local news sites such as:

– kaipoutheos here and here

– other sites here, here, here, here, here 

The full text of the Action Plan on a local news site here

After new observations and integration of the proposals submitted after its publication, the final GREEN SOCIAL ACTION PLAN for Sifnos will be officially presented to the new Municipal Council that takes over from 1/1/2024 and hopefully will be discussed in February 2024.

Proposals to the European institutions

The proposals contained in the GREEN SOCIAL ACTION PLAN for Sifnos do not bind the Municipality but only the authors nor the European Commission.

Taking into account the corresponding Action Plans of the other partners participating in the GRAPE program, a document with proposals and recommendations will be drawn up and addressed to the European Commission and the European Parliament. It will also address European networks related to issues discussed in the Action Plan, while also including good examples from Sifnos and other islands that could be used by the members of the SMILO small islands network.

About the COSME – GRAPE programme

The GRAPE project, “Local Social Green Action Plans for Small and Regional Places”, aims to collaborate on social and green resilience strategies to promote local solutions to local problems. It is co-financed by the European Commission under the Single Market Program (SMP-COSME). It started in May 2022 and will be completed in October 2023.

It includes 4 small European municipalities from rural, mountainous and island areas: Malegno (Italy), Mirabella Imbaccari (Italy), Bonares (Spain), Sifnos (Greece). Each municipality is supported by a local social and solidarity economy body: Sol.Co Camunia (Malegno), Fondazione di Comunità di Messina (Mirabella Imbaccari), COOPINTE (Bonares) , Wind of Renewal / Anemos Ananeosis (Sifnos). These local partnerships are further supported by a European network, REVES – European Network of Cities and Regions for the Social Economy and FAECTA , the Andalusian network of cooperatives. This consortium is headed by the Community Foundation of Messina / Fondazione di Comunità di Messina (Sicily, Italy).

The project aims to identify and promote resilient strategies to address economic, energy and climate crises at the local level and chart pathways for a sustainable and equitable green and digital transition, developing local solutions for local needs. In this context, the Social and Solidarity Economy contributes to “territorial resilience” through the experimentation of innovative solutions based on solidarity, mobilizing local actors to cooperate and use their resources to adapt to the challenges they face.

The project “GRAPE – Local Social Green Resilience Action Plans for small and peripheral territories” is supported by the european program SMP-COSME-2021-RESILIENCE-SEM (G.A. 101074093).


GRAPE PROJECT – FINAL CONFERENCE: Local Social Green Resilience Action Plans for small and peripheral territories

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Local Social Green Resilience Action Plans for small and peripheral territories

SMP-COSME-2021-RESILIENCE-SEM (G.A. 101074093)


The GRAPE project aims at experimenting the co-construction of local plans for the green, social and digital transitions in four small and marginalised territories engaging social economy actors.

Indeed, effective resilience to the climate, social and economic crisis is inherently local and in the EU there are some 121 000 small municipalities (EUROSTAT, LAU2) often located in deprived area, with low budget and administrative capacities and far away from mainstream public development policies. Here, often Social and Solidarity-based economy (SSE) actors have a primary role in creating and managing economic and social activities and services and may therefore contribute to the territorial resilience.

Consequently, the project has joined 4 small complementary territories in 3 countries: Mirabella Imbaccari (IT), Malegno (IT), Bonares (ES), Sifnos (GR), together with an experienced European public authorities and SSE actors, a network (REVES) and a regional cooperative network (FAECTA). For each territory, in addition to the respective municipalities, an SSE organisation has been involved: Fondazione di Comunità di Messina (leader partner) in Mirabella Imbaccari, Sol.Co. Camunia in Malegno, COOPINTE in Bonares and Anemos Ananeosis / Wind Of Renewal in Sifnos.

The conference will offer the opportunity to share and discuss the main results of the processes that brought the 4 communities to draft their local Social Green Resilience Action Plans and analyse their implications at a more general level for any remote and rural area, also introducing a digital toolkit for small communities interested in implementing the same participatory processes.

The conference will be entirely held in English. You can receive a link for your participation in the conference, sending your request to:

SMP-COSME-2021-RESILIENCE-SEM (G.A. 101074093)

16 th October 2023 online conference
9.00 – 9.15 Introduction to the conference

Mr. Giacomo Pinaffo (Fondazione MeSSInA)

9.15 – 10.30 Examples of transition priorities in the target territories
                     Mr. Ismael Medina Claros (Bonares) – renewable energy communities and ecological transition
                     Mr. Gio Lodovico Baglioni (Malegno) – recovery of abandoned lands and agro-biodiversity preservation
                     Mr. Nikos Chrysogelos (Sifnos) – climate mitigation and adaptation strategies; diversification of economy and sustainable, cool tourism
                     Mrs. Giulia Miotti (Mirabella Imbaccari) – local development through renewable energy communities and slow tourism

10.30 – 10.45 Break

10.45 – 11.00 Presentation of the policy recommendations

Mrs. Erdmuthe Klaer (REVES)

11.00 – 12.30 Public policies for the social, green and digital transition in remote and rural communities
                  Alexia Rouby, European Commission, DG AGRI (tbc)
                  Alberto Cottica – UNDP Accelerator Labs
                  Maria Cristina Morsellino, “BREED – Building community REsiliencE and sustainable Development through social economy” (tbc)
Mr. Chris MM Gordon, Irish Social Enterprise Network/Social Enterprise Exchange (tbc)

12.30 – 13.00 Presentation of the digital toolkit for small communities

Mr. Luigi Martignetti (REVES)

Sign up in advance for this conference:
after registering, you will receive a confirmation email with the necessary information to enter the conference

WELCOMMON HOSTEL: Sustainable tourism, accessibility, inclusiveness, job integration, social economy and innovation

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The social economy, in its various forms, has a historical track-record of supporting the full integration of people with special needs across all aspects of life, from education, training, housing, job opportunities to access to information, leisure, sport, cultural activities, products and services. Thanks to the social economy’s defining values and characteristics – favouring the social objective over profit, the centrality of the person, acting in the interest of its members and users and/or the general interest, having democratic 7 governance, reinvesting its profit into the enterprise – it is best placed to offer equal opportunities for socially excluded individuals, including people with disabilities, migrants, refugees, long term unemployed focusing on skills, support and full participation. Many actors of the social economy, such as cooperatives, social enterprises, work integration social enterprises (WISEs) and associations, include marginalized, vulnerable and disable people in their daily operation and governance structures, allowing for their participation also in the decision-making of the enterprise or organisation. This idea embodies the approach of the social economy in relation to the inclusion of marginalized and often vulnerable individuals: instaed of exclusion or relief approach, participation through empowerment. Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. The social economy cultivates this by acting not only for vulnerable people but also, and most importantly, with them.

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal was founded as a social cooperative enterprise in Athens in 2014 by a number of environmental and socially active citizens. Born out of a desire to promote social and green innovation and economy, sustainable tourism, climate protection, energy transition, environmental awareness, intercultural dialogue, welcome refugees – providing safe accommodation and social inclusion, . We wanted to implement – not only to propose – innovative solutions for the social and environmental problems of Greece (and Europe). WELCOMMON HOSTEL is an innovative and inclusive hostel open to all the different kind of travelers created and run by our cooperative.

What does accessibility mean for our organization

For Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal accessibility means equal access not only to a building or site but also to social, political, and economic life, it means not only physical access but also access to the same tools, services, organizations and facilities for all, disabled or/and other vulnerable people and non-disabled people

Our organization’s activities cover various areas of activity, but in this article we narrow the information presented below to activities provided in the field of sustainable tourism sector services, which are profiled due to the aspect of accessibility and / or take into account the employment of people with disabilities.

Our Welcommon Hostel is an innovative and inclusive hostel for sustainable tourism in Athens, Attica region, Greece. It is a seven-floor facility building in the center of Athens that offers accommodation for people of all ages and places, a hostel for sustainable tourism, a proposal for accommodation of social, cultural and environmental active groups and persons during their stay in Athens. The WELCOMMON HOSTEL is something more than just a nice hostel with social impact. It is also a place for social gathering and experimentation, a center for innovation and art, as well as a centre for social and green innovation and economy, for social and job integration for Greek locals, migrants and refugees.

Our guests are all different travelers (tourists, volunteers, Erasmus students, nomads-workers, newcomers, refugees. migrants). Our vision is to bring close people from all over the world without discrimination, to enable them to communicate, to be entertained and to explore the creative side of Athens. Our guests have the opportunity to participate directly and indirectly in green, social, humanitarian and inclusive – intercultural projects, events and activities. They can also contribute with their ideas and experience. WELCOMMON Hostel means welcome in common – together. We communicate about our offers at EU and global level as our guests are 95% people from EU and the rest of the world.

We try to stay innovative and adapt to new requirements, despite the crisis (financial, health, energy, climate, social)

The vision for the Welcommon Hostel is to be a sustainable solution to host all the travelers without discrimination based on inclusiveness and participation. Welcommon Hostel means welcome in common, together. We are flexible and be ready to stay innovative and adapt to new situations. WELCOMMON HOSTEL was named as the most EXTRAORDINARY Hostel Hero announced by HOSCARS awards 2021, organized by the international network HOSTEL WORLD. Why; As of June 2020, even the sustainable tourism collapsed and at the same time thousands of recognized refugees and asylum seekers in Greece were left homeless in the midst of a global pandemic, we decided to host a number of refugees, the most vulnerable between them, such as survivors of sexual violence, torture and ill treatment, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, pregnant and mothers with new borne babies. At the same time although the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions measures have a serious impact on us (reducing -80% of our income, almost zero tourists, restriction of in person activities, need for increased and costly health protection measures etc), we continued on offering social empowerment and non-formal education courses with the participation of refugees and volunteers.

We try to adapt our offer, the hostel/the building as such and our activities and services,  accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not) without discrimination. The hostel is accessible to disable persons. There is also a special designed room for 3-4 disable persons. The elevators and the rooms for activities as well as our bar and places for intercultural events are all accessible. Our guests are all kinds of travelers, including disable persons from all over Europe. We offer interactive, inclusive, intercultural, non formal education and courses (language lessons, art, environmental and climate awareness, music) and green and social economy workshops open for all: volunteers, refugees, migrants, travelers, nomads workers, Erasmus, locals with the support of more than 370 volunteers from all over the world.

We are proud we have hosted between others many individuals and groups of disabled persons as well as activities for disabled persons (for example a group of 50 participants, for an international Erasmus Project, from 19/10-26/10/2019, hosted by IKKAIDO,  an innovative European disability sports organisation) and of course many disable individuals as tourists, refugees and participants / students in our intercultural courses (language, painting, photography, music lessons).

If you’ve ever come into Welcommon you probably felt that it is a special place, a place where you can meet people, learn from them… it is a community. Special place, people, values.

Our services are designed to be accessible to everyone. Our vison is to offer appropriate accommodation and room for interaction and participation, but not only this. Our vision is to bring close people from all over the world, to enable them to communicate, to be entertained, to offer and gain knowledge and experience, and to explore the creative side of Athens. Everyone can contribute with his/her own ideas and experience.

Anemos Ananeosis/Wind of Renewal has a strong commitment to building a better world through social and green innovation and the cooperative business model.  We try to improve the working environment as we have always a diverse workforce (unemployed persons, refugees, long-unemployed persons, young persons without job-experience) and many volunteers with different background. This diverse workforce as well our model of sustainable tourism is an added value for our Hostel; there are many clients they decide to book a room or organise an event in our hostel bacause of this social responsible model.

We have discussed with an organization working for the enhance of disabled persons to host a number of employees with disabilities as our hostel and our workplace is friendly to disabled persons, but COVID-19 postponed the plan. Our main task is to train our employees with or without disabilites on digital and social and green skills, for positions like receptionists, communication, environmental management, communication with clients, procurements, barista, cook and serve local and ethnic dishes, energy efficiency, installation of solar systems etc.*

The training on job is undertaken by more experienced staff of Anemos Ananeosis or collaborators of the cooperative. We host also internships and practitioners, as well as European Young Entrepreneurs. As a social cooperative enterprise we have experienced exclusion and unfair practices related to covid-19 support measures by the national and regional authorities. Therefore, we try always to be flexible, innovative and responsible in our plans and practices,

The most expensive investment is regarding training of our personnel that must combine professional with social and environmental skills, capacities and knowledge. During COVID-19 the most expensive investment was not firing the employees, keep the workforce, as the income from tourism was almost zero.

We collaborate with networks and NGOs working for the rights of people with disabilities, with organizations like Hidden Athens (a town guide aimed at tourists who want to witness the special parts of Athens and learn beforehand whether a place has something special to offer, whether it is accessible to people with disabilities etc as well as with European social networks.

COVID-19 has postponed our networking with accessible tourism clusters, but we are very interesting in participating in such clusters in the near future and collaborate with social investors and social funds as well as with green funds, solar energy companies etc

We have a close cooperation with many universities, social enterprises, research centers and civil society’s organizations and networks.

Anemos Ananeosis participates in many events, seminars. workshops and projects concerning disable persons, and is a partner of the Erasmus project “SESYCARE- Social Entrepreneurship Skills for Young CAREgivers of people with chronic Illness”.

The main idea for the creation of the Welcommon Hostel was that the income from sustainable tourism will finance both the operation of the hostel and our social / ecological projects. We operate ‘for good and not-for-profit’ which means our clients’ stay should be cheaper while contributing to something amazing like social empowerment, social inclusion, green transition, music, cooking and language lessons, art-therapy, climate projects. Any surplus of funds will be reinvested in affordable hosteling, new jobs and social / green projects, not shareholders.

Of course during COVID-19 and as a result of collapse of traveling, our financial situation was hard. Enterprises of social economy are facing many obstacles and discrimination concerning the governmental measures for support during the COVID-19 and recovery from the crisis. Energy crisis, the rising of the prices for goods and services as well as the impact of the war in Ukraine are additional problems for activities like ours which need stability and long term planning.

We don’t received any grant or public support for the accommodation of vulnerable homeless refugees during the pandemic of COVID-19. Some individuals and small NGOs contributed a bit to the costs for the accommodation of a vulnerable person or a family.

We have started a crowdfunding campaign. People they want to support our social work can find more here:

The key success factors for our business

We have a vision, a mission and an innovative social/green business plan. And there are many people ready to share with us their commitment for a better and fairer world. Our philosophy is that we want to be part of the social change we want to see happen. Anemos Ananeosis/Wind of Renewal has a strong commitment to building a better world through social and green innovation and the cooperative business model. We want to influence the direction of our society to become more sustainable and ecologically and socially fair. And of course we are open for all the travelers and people, we are inclusive and we want to “teach” and “learn”. Our activity is based on social and green values: special place, people, value (the moto of LE MAT Europe network of social enterprises for sustainable tourism). We are very happy to participate in a network of many hostels and other accommodations with social aims and goals, values and social/green activities. We already know some and we try to be in contact with them..

What is the estimated average annual turnover of the business activity (in Euro)

The estimated annual turnover for our financial sustainability is about 500.000 euro. As the hostel is a new one (we opened it in July 2018) and we have spent an amount of more than 400.000 euro for the renovation of the building and for infrastructure (based on a re-use and energy efficiency /climate friendly  and zero waste approach), we were not able to succeed in financial sustainability before COVID-19. Our business plan was to reach financial sustainability in 2,5 years, that means by the end of 2020. We were on a very good path achieving our goal, but COVID-19 changed everything. Now we are looking for social and green investors to participate in our project.

Our social model, our values and our innovative approach are the strengths of our commercial communication. On 26th of April 2021, our Welcommon Hostel was recognized as the “most EXTRAORDINARY Hostel Hero” and one of the 5 “Extraordinary Sustainable Hostels”  by leading Online Travel Agent (OTA) focused on the hostel market, Hostelworld.

Representing Greece, Welcommon Hostel was crowned most EXTRAORDINARY Hostel Hero by a panel of expert travel judges and more than 20,000 votes by hostel travelers all around the world. Since 2016, we have received 11 international and european awards, prizes, distinctions, special recognitions. Please see here:

We are indeed asked many times and we can see the possibilities of replicating the solutions developed by our organization in cooperation with entities in other countries. With pleasure.

If you would like to learn more about us and support our project, please visit:

Welcommon Hostel:

Wind of Renewal:

Social change in our community:

Our history:


Wind of Renewal and Welcommon Hostel: Youth active for social, cultural and climate activities

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Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal (Άνεμος Ανανέωσης) – our social enterprise, and Welcommon Hostel – our innovative hostel with social and ecological impacts – deliver real social and ecological impact in #Athens, Greece. We believe in being a part of the change we want to see in the world – and we want the young persons to be a part of it, too.

Wind of Renewal was founded as a social cooperative in Athens in 2014. Born out of a desire to help in social and green transition of Greece, promote social and green innovation and economy, welcome refugees –  providing safe accommodation and social inclusion – we remain committed to changing the world in collaboration with dedicated partners.

The WELCOMMON HOSTEL – run by the Wind of Renewal – is a hostel with social, cultural and green impact, a beacon of sustainable tourism in the heart of Athens but also a community centre for refugees, migrants, volunteers, travelers/tourists and local Greeks to come together, learn essential life and language skills and be empowered; and an inspirer and educator for climate change action, energy transition and environmental awareness.

In everything we do, we work in collaboration with anybody who wants to be part of the change they want to see in the world. This includes

  • the volunteers delivering our language classes, cultural activities and integration events;
  • the refugees and local Greeks who participate in them;
  • our guests in Welcommon Hostel;
  • the students and teachers engaged in our climate education and action projects.

As a social cooperative, Wind of Renewal will not waste anybody’s talent, idea or enthusiasm. We will empower people to act, learn from them, and collaborate to change the world together.

Welcommon Hostel is a vibrant sustainable tourism destination in the heart of Athens. Our ambition is to fund our work to change the world sustainably from the income of the hostel, however we are not in this position yet. The aim of this project is to promote sustainable tourism, social and green innovation, social and circular economy, intercultural dialogue and climate/environment protection as well as social inclusion and cooperation with the local community. 

The Welcommon Hostel is an integrative hostel with social impact and at the same time a centre for social empowerment and innovation, a place for social, green and cultural events, activities, seminars and courses. Several events, projects, seminars and workshops are offered for and together with refugees, locals and travelers. We use five storeys of our seven-storey building in Exarcheia, Athens, to welcome visitors. The remaining two storeys are used for our programme of language classes, social inclusion and climate education and action.

We maximize our impact in our local community by providing training and employment for refugees and unemployed local Greeks. At the same time, we maximize our tourism offer by providing opportunities for guests to collaborate and change the world with us – and just by staying with us they are already contributing to our mission to be a part of the change we want to see in the world.

Welcommon Hostel is a member of Le Mat Europe, a pan-European network of social entrepreneurs including their local communities in sustainable tourism. We participate in the global travel agent network of Hostel World. We are recognised by the Greek Youth Hostels Association and are members of Hostelling International – national and international bodies recognising good standards for sustainable tourism alongside commitment to social and environmental change.

Wind of Renewal is also a founding member of the Greek Forum of Social Entrepreneurship, a member of

  • REVES (European Network of Cities & Regions for the Social Economy),
  • Anna Lindh Foundation (a Euro-Med network for the promotion of intercultural dialogue)
  • REScoop.Eu (the European Federation of renewable energy cooperatives)
  • DIESIS Network


Our project has impact at three levels: 

  1. a) on migrants/refugees: familiarisation with new communities; 
  2. b) on communities: better knowledge and active involvement in positive actions which reduce the effect of misleading representations of migrations; 
  3. c) on policies: smart action involving different stakeholders which increase the capacity of policies to deal with changing realities.

The pursuit of social integration also includes activities in common with local groups, schools, youth organizations on improving the capacity of local communities to implement a soft approach to social orientation, guiding newly arrived persons into a better knowledge and understanding of societal background, and improving empathic relationships among groups and persons. 

Learning from each other is an important and interesting part of the green and social project. As many people with different knowledge and skills come together, we try to benefit from each other. This happens through workshops we are giving to each other and in our daily work and interactions. Young participants, volunteers, tourists, teen refugees participate in our social and environmental activities.

Welcommon Hostel, an extraordinary inclusive and sustainable hostel, centre for social and green innovation, socializing, intercultural dialogue

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Welcommon Hostel is an innovative hostel with strong social and green impact. It is located  in the center of Athens, at the heart of youth, social and cultural activities, easy to reach with public transportation, 400 meters from Omonoia Square and 900 meters from Syntagma Square, close to the archaeological museum, 3 minutes on foot from the public transport systems’ hubs (Omonoia and Kaniggos sq), in a  distance of 10 minutes on foot from Acropolis, Museum of Acropolis, Syntagma sq, the Parliament, Monastiraki flea market, Plaka neighborhood and Athens downtown, at the borders of the Exarchia neighborhood with many youth cafes and cultural activities.

It is the first hostel in Athens run by a Social Cooperative, Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal established in 2014 for the promotion of social and green economy and innovation, intercultural dialogue, climate action, green transition, sustainable tourism. Two of our flagship projects are, the Welcommon center for housing and empowerment of refugees (9/2016-2/2018) and a follow up, the Welcommon Hostel, from June 2018 until today.

Welcommon Hostel offers accommodation to people of all ages and all the travellers without discrimination. It is a hostel for sustainable tourism, an option for accommodation of social, cultural and environmental active persons and groups during their stay in Athens, as well as a centre for the promotion of intercultural dialogue, social and green innovation, social empowerment and inclusion, job integration of refugees.

Welcommon Hostel opened at the end of June 2018, after a general renovation of the building based on a re-use and green approach aimed at turning it into a youthful, comfortable and creative hostel.

We have received 11 international and European awards and distinguishes for our social and green impact, like:

  • SOSCARs 2021 EXTRAORDINARY Hostel Hero 2021  / 1st place at the global level,  for our social work during COVID-19 (by the Hostel World network)
  • CEB 2021 award, shortlisted in the 5 best social inclusion projects in Europe (by the Development Bank of the Council of Europe),
  • European Citizen’s Prize 2018 for our contribution in the promotion of the European values (by the European Parliament),
  • SOSCARs 2021 EXTRAORDINARY SUSTAINABLE Hostel 2021, shortlisted in the 5 best sustainable hostels at the global level (by the Hostel World network)
  • voted as the best social project in Greece for 2019-2021 in the framework of the social competition organized by the Greek network of the Euro Med “Anna Lindh Foundation”

Welcommon Hostel is part of the LE MAT Network for the promotion of sustainable tourism: special people, places, values. Anemos Ananeosis is a member of the Anna Lindh Foundation for the promotion of the intercultural dialogue, (the federation of the European energy cooperatives) as well as of the REVES network of authorities and social enterprises for the promotion of social economy and DIESIS network, the ecosystem of social economy. We have close collaboration with european netoworks like Social EConomy Europe, Rre-use etc.

Welcommon Hostel is also a member of the Hostel World’s network as well as of Greek Youth Hostels Association and Hostelling International, the global networks of hostels that enable travelers to meet people of different cultures, backgrounds and experiences, and provide a rich resource for learning and for building a better, more peaceful world.

Social activities / social impact:

Welcommon Hostel always hosts volunteers from various European – and not only – countries. Since 2016 we have hosted more than 400 volunteers from all over the world, for 2-12 months. Our volunteers run on a daily basis our social activities, such as: language lessons for adults and teenagers, art classes, social events, walking tours etc. Since 2018, and especially during COVID-19 we have hosted in Welcommon Hostel, in safety and dignity – although without a grant or funding project – more than 600 vulnerable, homeless refugees, while more than 8000 refugees, volunteers, tourists, students, Erasmus participated in our inclusive, intercultural and interactive courses, events, activities. We have close collaboration with human rights, environmental and social organizations, networks as well as with communities of refugees and migrants.

Eco-Sustainability / Green hostel

Gradually we turn the Welcommon Hostel into a demonstration building for sustainability, energy efficiency

  • we changed all the 2400 lighting to LED – energyefficient systems,
  • we have installed 20 solar panels for heating the water used by our clients,
  • we managed to reduce the consumption of energy, electricity, oil, and CO2 emissions up to 50-60%
  • We are looking to turn the hostel into an almost zero emissions building, in the future, by using hybrid solar panels for heating / cooling of the building and producing electricity for the hostel’ s needs.

We welcome any networking with organisations and institutions, even social investors willing to support and participate in our project

If you know organisations and institutions willing to collaborate with us and even support our efforts, please give us a contact. Although we are working for the social good and green transition, we are excluded from the COVID-19 measures in Greece (as we are not for-a-profit organisation and there is also discrimination against social cooperatives in almost all the financial measures by the government and the regional authorities, although much of the money if EU). As we want to be independent related to housing and empowerment of refugees but also to promoting green and climate action and projects, we created the Welcommon Hostel in order to finance our projects. COVID-19 and the impact on tourism and societies raised obstacles in our effort to self-financing our projects and social / green work. We survived but we need you help.

Please have a look:

Shortcutz Amsterdam International Audience Award – Athens screening in Welcommon Hostel

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Shortcutz Amsterdam International Audience Award – Athens screening in Welcommon Hostel

The Shortcutz Amsterdam International Audience Award Tour makes a stop in Athens, for the third consecutive year, with 7 short films by young Dutch filmmakers. The screening is organized once again by the organisation Balkans Beyond Borders in collaboration with Shortcutz AmsterdamAnemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal and the Welcommon Hostel, inviting the Athenian audience to get to know the new Dutch film scene and vote for their favourite film. The screening will take place on Thursday 19/01 at 20:00, at the Welcommon Hostel. The entrance is free.

Each year Shortcutz Amsterdam presents a selection of Dutch short films on a World Tour through its international network. After last year’s screening in Athens, we are pleased to be once again one of the 30 partner countries that will host the films, one of which will be awarded the Shortcutz Amsterdam International Audience Award, through a voting process by the viewers.

The films MR ZEE BEST FILM: :

  • Cage, Rumi Kaul, live-action, 7’12’’
  • Funkele, Nicole Jachmann, live-action, 16’09’’
  • Ιn between Glass and Walls, Razan Hassan, documentary, 14’25’’
  • Science Around Us, ARIV, live-action, 20’
  • Spotless, Emma Branderhorst, live-action, 15’41’’
  • The Smile, Erik van Schaaik, animation, 16’
  • What killed Timmy Benson, Nick Cremers, animation, 14’08’’

All films screened at Shortcutz Amsterdam are viewed by a Jury Team, consisting of some of the most respected names in the industry, who vote for the finalists. The winner of the 10th Shortcutz Amsterdam International Audience Award will be announced on January 22nd and streamed live on the Shortcutz Amsterdam website.

This year’s screening of the Shortcutz Amsterdam International Audience Award is held under the communication support of the Dutch Embassy in Greece.

Venue: Welcommon Hostel, Kapodistriou 4, Athens

Free Entrance

Facebook event: here

Meet the organizing team:

Balkans Beyond Borders is focusing on networking and promoting emerging young artists and is collaborating with Shortcutz Amsterdam to present the short film to the Greek audience, while participating in a global network of film creatives and cultural professionals.

Shortcutz Amsterdam is the only initiative in The Netherlands exclusively focusing on promoting new Dutch film talent and connecting up-and-coming filmmakers with established professionals. It promotes new Dutch cinema through its network of over 50 partners, festivals around the world, and several special affiliated events.

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal (WoR) is a social cooperative founded in Athens, in 2014, born out of a desire to help in social and green innovation and transition of Greece, promote social and green innovation and economy, intercultural dialogue and sustainable tourism. WoR has a strong commitment to building a better world through social and green innovation and the cooperative business model. WoR has received 11 international and European awards and distinguishes for its social, intercultural and innovative work for people, inclusion and sustainability.

The Welcommon Hostel, a project of Wind of Renewal, is combining sustainable tourism with social and cultural activities, job opportunities and integration for people with different social backgrounds. As a center for innovation and art, it aims to act as an experiment for ways in which culture, creativity and employment integration might cohabit in a ‘learn’ and ‘share’ approach, which encircles a multitude of activities like art exhibitions, music events, theater, cinema and cultural trips.

A shadowing visit to Welcommon Hostel of a fellow from Celeste Foundation

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A 6 days shadowing visit to Welcommon Hostel of Antonina Rozalia Lenk, a fellow from Fundacja Celeste – Celeste Foundation, Poland.
From 20 to 25 of November 2022 we had the pleasure to host Antonina Rozalia Lenk, officer of Fundacja Celeste/Celeste Foundation,  from Łódź, Poland for a shadowing visit.
Μπορεί να είναι εικόνα 1 άτομο και στέκεταιWe discussed about  the Anemos Ananeosis /Wind of Renewal, the WELCOMMON HOSTEL, our hostel with social and green impact as well as about the Celeste Foundation. We had a very interesting and inspiring exchange of experience and good practices between the two organisations
n social work, working with vulnerable people for their empowerment, social cohesion, social economy, environmental protection, climate action and energy transition.
We also discussed about methodologies we use, potential and obstacles but also for future common projects and closer collaboration between the two organisations, based on values and strong partnerships. Social economy and social innovation are driving forces for sustainability, green transition and #leavenoonebehind
About  the project SEHubs
The project “SEHUBS – co-creating hubs for SEs” promotes a shadowing program for social enterprises (SEs) from Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland. The inclusive fellowship training program for SEs staff managers and trainers is developed for the ones who dream to change the world.
During the application period, more than 25 social enterprises from the 4 countries applied as host organizations and more than 40 representatives of social enterprises – applied as fellows.
After the long process of matching the applicants, considering the most expedient crossbreeds between the applicants, the program coordinators: PRISM Impresa Sociale (Italy), Athens Lifelong Learning Institute (Greece), Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law – BCNL (Bulgaria) and University of Lodz (Poland) have selected you to participate in the program as a matched pair, as follows: from Athens, Greece, as a host organization of: Antonina Rozalia Lenk, officer of Fundacja Celeste from Łódź, Poland, as a fellow.
The project is an opportunity for dialogue, exchange of experience and enhance of the collaboration between social enterprise initiatives.
Μπορεί να είναι εικόνα 2 άτομα, άτομα που στέκονται, χάρτης και εσωτερικός χώρος
About the Celeste Foundation
The Celeste Foundation was established in 2014, and its mission is to constantly improve the quality of people’s lives and care for their health, in particular mental health. The Foundation provides support to those who find themselves in a difficult life situation due to illness or disability.The vision of the Celeste Foundation is “a world without barriers, where everyone has equal opportunities and can fulfill their needs, interests, desires and dreams, as well as develop professionally, regardless of the conditions in which they find themselves and their health“.

The key values ​​of the Celeste Foundation are: people, quality, innovation and work. “Man, his needs and problems are our starting point in everything we do. Our leitmotif is quality. We prioritize quality over quantity. We reach for innovative solutions to difficult problems. We boldly cross existing borders to effectively break down social barriers. We believe in the value of work. We want the labor market to be friendly to everyone. We work hard to achieve the set goals“.

The statutory goals of the Celeste Foundation include: conducting comprehensive activities in the field of helping the disabled, elderly, sick and other socially excluded people and their relatives, social and professional activation and charity activities; promoting the social enterprise model; improving the education system, promoting education; arousing in children and young people a lasting interest in science and the fight against discrimination.

The Celeste Foundation conducts many social activities and implements innovations aimed at effectively solving difficult social problems. It directly helps sick and disabled people, the elderly and other socially excluded people and their relatives. It implements social projects aimed at activating people with disabilities, facilitating their return to the labor market. The Celeste Foundation offers jobs for people with disabilities, especially those with mental illness, it creates workplaces adapted to the individual needs of people with disabilities. It supports other organizations that help sick and disabled people and social enterprises.

The Celeste foundation is a partner of the TRANSFER project which goal is to improve the quality of activities in the field of mental health by testing the Community Model of treatment and rehabilitation of people with mental disorders and diseases, assuming the improvement of the availability, scope and effectiveness of psychiatric services in the city districts of Łódź and Zgierz. The project is aimed at people: suffering from schizophrenia spectrum disorders and affective disorders, dementia disorders, addicted to alcohol and other substances that change consciousness, in accordance with current demographic, epidemiological and social trends.

As part of the TRANSFER project, the Celeste Foundation cooperates with the Leader in the organization and implementation of a training and internship program for people with mental illnesses and disorders at the Center for Professional Activation – Powidok restaurant in Łódź.

Professional activation is one of the key elements of the return of mentally ill people to an independent and satisfying life in society.

In the Center for Vocational Activation Powidok, project participants gain knowledge and experience as kitchen assistants in a prestigious restaurant located in the heart of Łódź.

With the support of carers, a psychologist and other project staff – at the end of the training and internship program at the Center for Vocational Activation Powidok – participants set off to the open labor market with new competences and motivation to take up independent employment.

The Celeste Foundation tries to support environmentally friendly solutions. “In the restaurant, attention is paid to reducing the consumption of plastic (e.g. by limiting disposable packaging, reusing items whenever possible). We also introduce responsible, selective waste segregation. In addition, he educates his charges in the field of pro-ecological solutions. A large part of the foundation’s activity is convincing the public to healthy eating. We believe that what we eat affects our health and mental condition. In addition, it reduces the consumption of meat and sugar, which is positive for the climate. More plant foods means more vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts, and less animal products. We want to pay a lot of attention to buying food from local producers and without packaging, and if this is not possible, at least in large collective packaging, preferably glass. In our various current and planned activities, we try to implement ecological solutions – change the lighting to LED bulbs to reduce electricity consumption. We make sure that our water systems are tight and we reduce water consumption”.

As part of its activities, the Celeste Foundation also provides free legal assistance. This is a task commissioned from the government administration (Ministry of Justice). Advice is provided by attorneys and legal advisors.

Free legal aid and free civil counseling are available to all persons who are unable to bear the costs of paid legal aid (by submitting an appropriate declaration).

Authorized persons will receive legal assistance in every area of ​​law, except for matters related to running a business. At free civil counseling points, those interested will receive support in solving the problem on their own. They will be informed about their rights or obligations (civic advice includes, in particular, advice for indebted persons and advice in the field of housing and social security).

Each time, we try to approach the presented problem individually and explain the essence of the problem in a reliable way. Advice is provided by experienced legal advisors and attorneys who participate in legal advice, free legal advice points run under the Act on Free Legal Aid, Free Citizenship Advice and Legal Education since 2016, and therefore guarantee the highest quality and have extensive experience in implementing these tasks“.

Ukraine – exchange of experiences 

The project “Support for Ukraine” aims to provide assistance to Ukrainian citizens with disabilities and their accompanying persons who came to the territory of the Republic of Poland in connection with military operations conducted in Ukraine. For the participants of the project there are the following activities:

  • place of accommodation
  • meals
  • support of a social worker
  • taking care of a psychologist,
  • providing transport for the disabled,
  • help of housing security assistants, social rehabilitation animator,
  • ensuring the learning of the Polish language
  • support of a Ukrainian language translator

The project for supporting Ukrainian refugees is addressed to a group of persons who decide to temporarily stay in Zgierz during the implementation of a public task. The “Celeste” Foundation has 16 places in the center. Architectural barriers have been removed in the building (wheelchair access, elevator), and the living quarters (rooms, bathroom, kitchen, washing room and drying clothes) are also adapted to the limitations of people with physical disabilities. The rooms are equipped with rehabilitation beds, wardrobes, tables with chairs, TV sets. The kitchen has a gas hob, fridge, dishwasher, microwave oven. There is also a washing machine available for residents. it is fully equipped with small appliances for everyday use.

Sources of funding for the Foundation’s activities

  • Projects financed by the European Union
  • Income from own operations, e.g. restaurants
  • Income from conducting pro-health training and workshops for external clients
  • Projects financed by the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled People
  • Co-financing for the creation of jobs for people with disabilities (also from the Disabled People’s Rehabilitation Fund)
  • Earmarked funds related to helping Ukraine in connection with the war and refugees

Μπορεί να είναι εικόνα κείμενο που λέει "SE က HUBS Co-creating Hubs for Social Enterprises"


About Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal and Welcommon Hostel

The social cooperative Anemos Ananeosis / WIND OF RENEWAL was founded in Athens in 2014, born out of a desire to help in social and green innovation and transition of Greece, promote social and green innovation and economy, and sustainable tourism. Anemos Ananeosis/Wind of Renewal has a strong commitment to building a better world through social and green innovation and the cooperative business model. We want to influence the direction of our society to become more sustainable as well as ecologically and socially fair, to be part of the social change we want to see happen. This is why ANEMOS ANANEOSIS / WIND OF RENEWAL has received 11 international and European-level distinctions for innovation and contribution to the social economy, social innovation, social and green transition.

The WELCOMMON HOSTEL is a new, extraordinary, innovative and inclusive Hostel in Athens and also a social experimentation. We combine sustainable tourism with empowerment and social inclusion of vulnerable persons, green and social innovation, and intercultural dialogue. We welcome all kinds of different travelers (tourists, volunteers, erasmus, refugees, migrants, nomads, students) and aim to create communities of respect and acceptance. We provide safe accommodation, socializing, intercultural environment, social inclusion, environmental and climate awareness. We aim to make the hostel a zero emission and zero waste facility.

Social innovation in all our social activities and projects 

  • Empowerment through building communities

We have developed a community model for empowerment and inclusion through building communities (welcommon means welcome in common, together). We promote coexistence and dialogue between the cultures working with refugees, asylum seekers, tourists, European young volunteers from more than 50 nationalities and ethnicities in a more inclusive framework. The intercultural courses we offer are more inclusive. All the different travelers can participate in our courses (tourists, guests, volunteers, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, Erasmus, students, nomads).

Our courses are more interactive, all the participants could be at the same time “teachers” and “students”, that means “we learn from each other”, it is not a passive, one way learning process. Learning from each other is an important and interesting part of our social project. As many people with different knowledge and skills come together, we try to benefit from each other. The residents of the Welcommon Hostel as well as the volunteers and the pupils participating in our intercultural courses can “teach” using their different skills, transfering knowledge, enhance their capacities and flourish themselves.

Our work is not only FOR refugees but also WITH refugees. We focus not only on help and support but also on mobilization and empowerment through doing and acting together. We use the human capital existed in our small and multicultural communities for: solving a problem, teaching, supporting alone dissable persons in move during their stay in our premises, stopping violence in family, protecting vulnerable persons.

We work for the empowerment, professional training and promotion of the abilities and qualifications of refugees, especially the young persons, in order to be able to find their way in our societies for the benefit of our society. We have offerd work places to young refugees.

We invite our guests/travelers, volunteers, personnel, refugees, migrants – pupils of our intercultural courses) to participate in climate actions. We connect our volunteers and guests with climate initiatives and we host some meetings and seminars in our hostel.

  • Stay safe during COVID-19

During COVID-19, we offered in Welcommon Hostel safe accommodation and empowerment courses to many homeless vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers and at the same time we hosted a big number of refugees and volunteers in Welcommon Hostel. Even during COVID-19 we continued on offering the lessons for the empowerment of the participants, in a safe environment, implementing the health regulations.

  • Days of Welcommon – Volunteering 

The vision of our volunteering project is to bring people together from all over the world (380 volunteers from 2016 until today), to enable them to communicate, by contributing with own social and green ideas, social and climate actions and experience, with the highlight of the positive impact that social economy enterprises have on communities, revitalizing neighborhoods, acting for the climate protection, making bridges between communities, social groups, newcomers and local people.

We offer  free of cost and without any grant interactive, inclusive, intercultural, non formal education and courses (language lessons, art, environmental and climate awareness, music) and green and social economy workshops open for all. In our intercultural lessons from 9/2016 until today have participated more than 3000 refugees and 2000 other persons and 380 volunteers. The activity “Days of Welcommon” is our volunteering project offering Intercultural and inclusive courses and activities:

– free language and art classes /intercultural courses for refugees, tourists, volunteers and locals

– full schedule of inclusive cultural activities, music, art, comedy and film events

Combining social and green innovation, environmental awareness and respect to others.

Engaging and supporting any and all projects which align with our focus on social inclusion and climate action – from family picnics to seminars on the green economy and everything in between

Supporting young people to gain professional qualifications in energy reduction and transition.

  • Αccessibility and Anemos Ananeosis/ Wind of Renewal

For Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal accessibility means equal access not only to a building or site but also to social, political, and economic life, it means not only physical access but also access to the same tools, services, organizations and facilities for all, disabled or/and other vulnerable people and non-disabled people.

  • Welcommon Hostel

We try to adapt our offer, the hostel/the building as such and our activities and services,  accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not) without discrimination. The hostel is accessible to disable persons. There is also a special designed room for 3-4 disable persons. The elevators and the rooms for activities as well as our bar and places for intercultural events are all accessible. Our guests are different travelers, including disable persons, from all over the world. We are proud we have hosted between others many individuals and groups of disabled persons as well as activities for disabled persons (for example a group of 50 participants, for an international Erasmus Project, from 19/10-26/10/2019, hosted by IKKAIDO,  an innovative European disability sports organisation) and of course many disable individuals as tourists, refugees and participants / students in our intercultural courses (language, painting, photography, music lessons).

  • Welcommon project

Welcommon was an innovative, model community center for accommodation and social inclusion of refugees in Athens (“empowerment through the creation of a community”), which combined decent and safe housing with social inclusion and job integration of a total of 600 refugees, the most vulnerable: people with disabilities, serious medical conditions, serious psychiatric disorders, victims of torture, rape, trafficking, pregnant women, families with newborns. It was a structure not only for refugees but with refugees for the benefit of the local community as well.  When it closed in February 2018, after a suddenly stopping of the funding (80%), we decided to open the inclusive Welcommon Hostel and after a hard work on this plan, we were able to make the hostel ready for operation in July 2018, without any grant, donation or even bank loan, only based on loans by members and friends.

  • SESYCARE project 

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal is a partner of the SESYCARE project “Social Entrepreneurship Skills for Young CAREgivers of people with chronic Illness”. The project is coordinated by EPIONI- Greek Carers Network. The overall goal of the project is to summarize the knowledge about young carers’ lives focusing on their personal experiences, the impact of caring, needs and coping behaviors, and offer specific social entrepreneurship education and activities among this vulnerable population. It helped exchange ideas between the partners and good practices in the support of young caregivers who wish to develop their social entrepreneurial skills.


  • Social Economy

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal was a founding member of the Social Economy Forum, an open platform of cooperation for the promotion of social entrepreneurship on the basis of agreed principles. The Forum provided a (digital) space for dialogue, information, and spread of good practices. It promoted collaboration and networking for the development of social and cooperative enterprises in Greece, as well as exchanging knowledge about financial tools and the sustainable operation for social and cooperative enterprises, green and energy transition, etc

Acting for environmental and climate protection – energytransition 

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal is committed to support the transition to an energy-efficient and green tourism and economy in general, in creating a new center for eco-friendly projects and practices; we also aim to contribute to reducing the energy poverty of households, offering them know-how and support so that they can exit a difficult situation through social empowerment and energy efficiency.

Welcommon Hostel is an example of a circular and green economy in tourism. A lot has been artistically designed with reused items, always with the comfort of the travelers in mind.

We have also installed on the roof of the Welcommon Hostel – without any grant – 20 solar panels for the production of hot water for shower and domestic use. The production of hot water is a major source of energy-consumption and economic duty of accommodation buildings and the ways of producing it most of the time is related to use of fossil fuels, a practice that is environmentally damaging. This is why, faithful to our purpose of creating a sustainable and environmentally fair society, we chose a renewable source of energy to adapt the need of hot water to a carbon-free practice.

Another measure implemented in the hostel is the use of LED lighting lamps instead of 2400 high energy consuming lamps. For a 7-story building with more than 10 rooms/story, plus the corridors, staircases, storage rooms etc with  lighting needs ended up to be a significant investment. However the result for this investment was also significant and it is well portrayed in the electric bills afterwards.

A flagship project of Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal is the Climate School Be.At, a 28-month project, aimed to augment the awareness of climate change and energy consumption in the school communities of the Municipality of Athens (MoA). 240 teachers were trained and 197 of them were supported with toolboxes and methodologies for the successful implementation of the project in 73 schools with the participation of 3500 pupils. The project was also a useful tool for intercultural education and inclusion of all the pupils, Greeks and the ones with migrant and refugee background, offering different roles and tasks to all of them based on their interest, skills and capacities, enhancing the community building approach.

ZEWklima purpose was to examine the promising approach of tackling the problem of youth unemployment in Greece and Spain through adequate qualification measures, which at the same time have a positive impact on the energy transition and climate protection effects.

EUKI-project “YESCLIMA – Young experts for climate-friendly schools in Mediterranean countries”. 11 young people from Greece and 11 from Spain, organized in three groups, participated in 6 months theoretical and practical education so they can work in the energy saving sector and natural heating and cooling techniques in buildings.

Wind of Renewal, INZEB and Heinrich Böll Stiftung Greece collaborated in order to deliver a policy paper on: “Energy Poverty in Greece: Social Green Innovation Proposals to Address the Phenomenon“. Two workshops were organised with the participation of many stakeholders aiming on a participatory drafting of the proposals. In this study, the factors comprising the multi-faceted problem of energy poverty were being introduced as well as its social, economic and environmental consequences. Policies and good examples for dealing with the phenomenon from various European countries are being presented as well as proposals to tackle the problem in Greece.

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal has organised more than 60 conferences, events and seminars on green transition, climate protection, green deal.  Under the concept  “Discussing and taking the initiative for the green/circular and social  economy and the innovation” we have organised a variety of workshops, public events and day workshops with the participation of universities, teachers, social – vocational institutions, social – economy enterprises, social media. The 2 days-seminar “Planning Transition to Energy Efficient Cities- Energy Efficiency on local level” was addressed to more than 250 elected, civil staff, managers and staff of municipalities especially from the departments of programming, energy-climate, urban planning and construction as well as representatives of civil society, unemployed and staff related businesses.

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal is a member of the european federation of energy cooperatives


  • Our main income comes from the operation of the Welcommon Hostel. Our business model aims to be financial sustinable from sustainable tourism and have the resources not only for running the hostel but also to promote social and green projects. Although the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions measures have a serious impact on us (reducing -80% of our income, almost zero tourists, restriction of in person activities, need for increased and costly health protection measures etc), we continued on offering social empowerment and non-formal education courses with the participation of refugees and volunteers.
  • We have few grants and a number of small donations by individuals or small organisations
  • We have started participating in a number of european projects (EUKI, Erasmus, etc)

SESYCARE project: From Caregiver to Social Entrepreneur

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The project SESYCARE ‘‘Social entrepreneurship skills to young caregivers of people with chronic illness’’ focuses on the problems of young carers. Partners of the project are: the Greek Caregivers Network EPIONI (lead partner) and the Istanbul Gelişim University, SGS Consorzio, Stichting Dutch Foundation of Innovation Welfare 2 Work and Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal.

Funded by the European Union (Αριθμός Σύμβασης 2020-2-EL02-KA205-006146), the project focuses on the problems of young carers. So who are these young caregivers in our lives? The group we define as young caregivers consists of children or young people caring for sick or disabled family members. Young caregivers, like other adult caregivers in the family, take on heavy responsibilities and provide informal care support for sick or disabled individuals in the home. However, this responsibility can sometimes be difficult for them and they may need special support under such a situation.


The SESYCARE project aimed to make suggestions to young caregivers to improve their coping behaviors based on their life experiences and to transform their experiences and knowledge gained through the role of caregiver in the family into a social entrepreneurship skill.

Young carers are not generally counted among the disadvantaged groups. Also, it is ignored by the family. Young caregivers who provide care support to sick or disabled family members are affected psychologically and sociologically in the long run. Various studies, according to Eurocarers, have documented that many young people provide substantial care support to chronically ill members of their families. Young caregivers, who have to spend most of their time at home due to this heavy responsibility, unfortunately fall behind in their education or they show weakness and often cannot be included in social groups of their peers. At the same time, this can become a difficult situation to explain for young caregivers. Although they have good caring experience, they tend to hide the condition of the disabled person in their family from others. Because they don’t want to be described as a young caregiver. Young carers want to live a “normal life”!

Young caregivers who put the needs of their family members above their own want to lead a normal life. Therefore, young carers need professional support to enable them to recognize the real needs of their family members so that they can spend more time with themselves. Professional support for the sick or disabled person will help to make a more effective care plan, to make good time management for the other members of the family and to devote more personal time to themselves. In addition, such support will allow family members to feel mentally healthier. This means that young carers become more socialized, express themselves more clearly and focus better on the opportunities for their education. Can young carers turn their carer experience into a social enterprise experience?

Who is a social entrepreneur? Social entrepreneurs are people who have the potential to produce solutions for community-based problems. They are willing to take risks and efforts to create positive changes in society through their initiatives by following new practices. A social entrepreneur is not just concerned with pursuing profits, but building a business for greater social good. People who have sick or disabled people in their family approach the situation from a different perspective, based on their experiences and looking at community-based problems from a different perspective. Therefore, they are among the first to notice many problems and needed solutions. The experience of young carers from an early age certainly creates potential for solving social problems and this group deserves to be encouraged as social entrepreneurs.

The first meeting of the project was held in Athens with the participation of experts. The partnership met in Athens for the project kick-off meeting. Various experts were invited to the meeting, which was celebrated on September 23-24, 2021. On the first day of the meeting, experience and different cultures was shared by experts, accompanied by a conference attended by representatives from Greece, Belgium, Serbia, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, the Netherlands and Turkey. The conference focused on the personal experiences, impact of care, conflicts and coping behaviors of young caregivers. In addition, two young caregivers were invited to share their experiences. These two young caregivers from the Netherlands and Sweden talked about their experiences and how they coped with their difficulties. During the conference, experts made scientific presentations on “Young carers and why social entrepreneurship is relevant to them”.

On the second day of the meeting, a webinar on “Care of Caregivers” was held. Stelios Kympouropoulos, Member of the European Parliament, Marietta Giannakou, Member of the Greek Parliament, and Mr. Grigoris Konstantellos, Mayor of the Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni region, attended the webinar with their presentations. Marietta Giannakou underlined the need for carer associations to communicate with politicians, emphasizing the importance of advocating for informal carers. In addition, Stecy Yghemonos, who attended the meeting from Eurocarers, conveyed the work of this umbrella organization in the EU environment and the consequences of COVID-19 on caregivers at the EU level. Another participant, Kelly Panagiotopoulou, talked about the prevention of depression among caregivers, and Dimitrios Nikolsky, representative of the Greek Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, detailed the Personal Assistant institution.

Noor Seghers from KU Leuven University talked about good practices supporting carers in Belgium. Finally, Mr. Christos Prapas, lecturer at the University of West Attica in Greece, highlighted the importance of supporting caregivers as an issue directly related to public and community health. Later in the meeting, presentations were made about the work of the partner organizations and the implementation strategies of the project.

ΕικόναThe meeting in Istanbul

The partnership met in Istanbul for the second evaluation meeting. The second evaluation meeting of the project was held as a hybrid in Istanbul, hosted by Istanbul Gelişim University. The partnership, which met again on 11-12 January 2022, reviewed the strategies of the project and made various evaluations. In addition, during the meeting, presentations were made by experts invited by Istanbul Gelişim University. Dean of Students İbrahim Halil Yaşar introduced the functions of the Dean of Students at universities, and Erdem Ünal Elli, director of the Psychological Counseling and Guidance Center, introduced the functions of the Psychological Counseling and Guidance Center.

On the second day of the meeting, a focus group consisting of young caregivers was organized under the moderation of Istanbul Gelişim University. In the focus group, the experiences of a young caregiver with a disabled parent and another young caregiver whose sibling is disabled were shared. After the focus group, Dr. Aman Sado Elemo from Istanbul Gelisim University Psychology Department made a presentation on the psycho-social burden of young caregivers. Then again from the Department of Psychology, Dr. Esra Savaş talked about the family dynamics of a young caregiver.

The meeting, hosted by Istanbul Gelişim University and attended by some of the partners online, was evaluated efficiently despite the pandemic conditions. The project was enriched by the presentations of the experts.

Dutch Sesycare Training Days - Day 3

The meeting in Leiden 

On February 26-28, 2022 and hosted by the Stichting Dutch Foundation of Innovation Welfare 2 Work, a short-term staff training within the scope of the Sesycare project was held. Located in the Area071 incubation center in Leiderdorp, the host focused on the principles of non-formal education and the inclusion of young carers through social entrepreneurship through the workshops. The three-day training contributed to the capacity building of the key personnel involved in the project by the stakeholders. During the workshops, the step-by-step process of a young carer to become a social entrepreneur was described. The stages of a young carer’s readiness and motivation to become a social entrepreneur, concretely defining their goals and participating in a social entrepreneurship process were evaluated. In addition, the education and training processes applied in the field of social entrepreneurship were discussed.

On the second day of the training, the project partners visited the Area071 incubation center to inspect. Accompanied by the host institution, we had the opportunity to meet the businesses in Area071. Especially Mr. Bart Hoenen, co-founder of AREA071, shared his experiences working with young entrepreneurs and vulnerable groups. Companies located in the incubation center often work on innovations and technologies aimed at improving the well-being of society. This experience sharing and review visit was very useful in terms of seeing examples of social entrepreneurship.

Εικόνα Εικόνα

On the third day of the training, a presentation was made for young entrepreneurs by Andreas Stefanidis, the Greek President of the Entrepreneurship Academy. In the presentation where the Erasmus program was introduced, he explained how social entrepreneurs in the European Union can benefit from this program as the entrepreneurs of the future.

Εικόνα Εικόνα

After that, participating in the online workshop from Istanbul Gelisim University Psychology Department, Dr. Aman Sado ELEMO, made a presentation on the psychological aspects of social entrepreneurship for the disabled or young caregivers.

With the Leiden workshops, an effective working environment has been created where we talk about how we can turn dreams into ideas and ideas into beginnings. In addition, the partners had the opportunity to participate in several cultural activities in the Dutch province of Leiden. The popular touristic areas of the region were visited with the host and the participants had a good time together.

The meeting in Lanciano

The partnership organized a visit to Lorenzo’s House in Italy as part of the Sesycare project. The final meeting of the project was held in Lanciano, Italy, on 20 and 21 October 2022, hosted by Consorzio SGS (renamed Consorzio di Cooperative sociali Global Med Care).

On the first day of the two-day meeting, they organized a visit to the Lorenzo House as part of good practice exchanges. Lorenzo’s House is a non-profit organization that is recognized as a social benefit entity. Lorenza’s house was dedicated by her family to Lorenzo Constantini, who died at the age of 20 from leukemia.

ΕικόναHis family describes Lorenzo as a good student and a very sporty young man. His family, who learned that he had to be transferred to a private hospital in the USA for his treatment, started a public financial aid campaign to cover the $ 600,000 treatment cost. The appeals for financial aid were very successful and the locals were very responsive to Lorenzo’s case, and it took a few weeks for the sum to be collected. Unfortunately, Lorenzo succumbed to this illness. Later, a non-profit organization was created to transfer this financial aid, which was collected to help the families of young people who needed help and had health problems. Since then, this organization has offered support and comfort to those who have suffered an illness of their relatives, most of them children or a great loss. The organization offers completely free services, including group meetings with professional psychologists, nutritionists, yoga sessions and support for anyone suffering from loneliness.

The organization also prepares special packages, baskets and products that can be sold on special occasions such as Christmas by contacting local producers in the region to provide the financial source to continue its activities.

On the second day of the meeting, the sustainability strategy of the project On the second day of the meeting, the sustainability strategy of the project was reviewed and new project opportunities for the next period were discussed.

                                      SESYCARE PROJECT


GRAPE Social Economy Mission in Bonares: cooperativism, local sustainability, Local Action Plan

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Grape, working on social and green resilience strategies for the development of local solutions to local problems. The project GRAPE “Local Social Green Action Plan for small and peripheral territories”in co-financed by the European Commission within the Single Market program (SMP-COSME), it kicked-off in May 2022 and it will end in October 2023. It involves 4 small European Municipalities from rural, mountain and insular areas: Malegno (IT), Mirabella Imbaccari (IT), Bonares (ES), Sifnos (EL). Each Municipality is supported  by a local social and solidarity economy (SSE) actor: Sol.Co Camunia (Malegno), Fondazione di Comunità di Messina (Mirabella Imbaccari), COOPINTE (Bonares), Wind of Renewal (Sifnos). These local partnerships are further supported by a European network, REVES – European Network Of Cities And Regions For The Social Economy and by FAECTA, the Andalusian cooperatives’ network. Such Consortium is led by Fondazione di Comunità di Messina.The project aims at identifying and promoting resilient strategies to tackle economic, energetic and climatic crises at a local level and pave the way to a sustainable and fair green and digital transition, developing local solutions to local needs. In this context, Social and Solidarity-based Economy contribute to the “territorial resilience” through the experimentation of innovative solidarity-based solutions mobilising local stakeholders to cooperate and use their resources to adapt to challenges they are facing. Read more here

Bonares, towards Local Action Plan

The third and last GRAPE Social Economy Mission was held in November 2022 in Bonares, a community with circa 6000 inhabitants in Andalusia, Spain. The work focused on the process that all partners will follow during the next 5 months in order to draft four Local Action Plans, one for each territory involved. The specific phases of such process were explained and analysed during the first and second day morning sessions. Specifically: analysis of each and every contexts involved and a first long-term hypothesis concerning social and environmental transition at the local level; an inquiry concerning potential legislative constraints and potential financial resources that may allow the Municipalities to implement their vision; mapping and involvement of the main local stakeholders to share vision and ideas; identification of intervention priorities in the light of the needs emerged from the dialogue with the community and the necessary feasibility analyses. The last step consists in the drafting of the Local Action Plan, the document collecting and summarizing the outcomes of the above-mentioned phases.

The implementation of this process, adjusted to the specific contexts of each partner’s community, will allow to gather and compare the experiences in the different territories and also ease the further development of an online instrument that may support other interested communities in replicating the process, providing them with insights and examples.


The Mission allowed the partners to get in touch with the Bonares territory and its specific characteristics. One of the aspects that most struck the participants was the cooperative spirit characterising the whole local community and that gave life to several cooperatives now active in many economic sectors (agriculture, transports, education). A specific insight has been dedicated to the experience of COOPINTE. COOPINTE is a second-level cooperative with more than 20 years of experience: it was founded by the Bonares Municipality together with other local organizations to support the activities of its members and therefore engender local responsible development.

During the second day of the Mission the perspective was enlarged to the regional level thanks to the intervention of provincial and regional representatives from FAECTA, the network of Andalusian cooperatives and partner of the GRAPE project. They showed how deeply the cooperation sector is rooted the Andalusian region, thus being among the most developed cooperative sector at national level.

The principles inspiring cooperative enterprises can be summarized as follows: priority to people rather than to economic profit, social and environmental responsibility, engagement in community development. Such principles have been described during the tour to some of the cooperative examples of the territory.

The cooperative spirit arises in all sectors of social life, not only in the entrepreneurial context : the meeting with some of the representatives of civil society organizations and the experience of some local cultural traditions showed the high level of cooperation and cohesion that characterize the local community in its entirety.

Next steps
The partners, moving from the experiences gathered in the different territorial contexts and from the relation established among themselves, will go back to their own communities and, together with the Municipalities and social economy organizations, delve in the development of participatory processes that will end in the drafting of Local Action Plans

This document reflects the views only of the Author and the GRAPE Consortium.
The Commission cannot be held responsible for any use
which may be made of the information contained therein

We support Ukrainian women and children refugees in Greece – Crowdfunding campaign -Learn what we are doing, how you can support

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We stand with Ukraine and we support the Ukrainian women and children refugees in Greece. As the terrible war in Ukraine continues, there are millions of innocent people fleeing the violence with no place to go. It’s truly unimaginable. We can help. We can at least support the Ukrainian refugees in our countries, especially the women and children.

What we are doing for/with the Ukrainian women and children

  •  The social cooperative Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal @WindRenewal and its innovative and inclusive Welcommon Hostel @WelcommonHostel work together with the Ukrainian Women in Greece @UkrainianWomeninGreece (УкраїнкивГреції) to support the women and children from Ukraine who arrived as refugees in Greece due to Putin’s invasion and the war in their country, with language classes, painting, theater, dancing, yoga and other creative activities. All the activities are implemented, free of cost and without any grant, thanks to the collaboration between Ukrainian women and Wind of Renewal’s young enthusiastic volunteers from all over the world (we have hosted more than 380 volunteers in the Welcommon Hostel since September 2016).
  • The two associations,  Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal and the Ukrainian Women in Greece organised a trip of 65 children and teenagers from Ukraine to Athens. The choir “Yevshan” Galician Chamber Choir of the Lviv Regional Center for Folk Art and Cultural Educational Activities and the sport team «Uspikh» participated in the two days festival Cossack Art 2022, on 15th and 16th of October  2022 with musical and other events of solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine. The trip was also an opportunity for the young people to stay 3 days away from the war that is destroying so many lives in Ukraine and killing innocent people.
  • Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal also offered to the Ukrainian Women in Greece – free of cost- place in the  Welcommon Hostel in order to be able to support the Ukrainian refugees in Greece.
  • We are trying to find financial resources for creating job opportunities for Ukrainian women and children refugees in Greece as long as they stay in our country and support them when they will be able to return to their homes. Especially we would like to create in common job opportunities and  co-work on non formal education, energy transition, sustainable tourism, production and e-trade of clothes and jewellery
  • In the Welcommon Hostel in Athens, we offer refugees a place to stay at a significantly reduced rate, if they have no alternative for housing

If you would like to support our social work, please donate to (don’t forget to add – Supporting your work with Ukrainian women and children)

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal

(Cooperative) Bank of Karditsa

ΙΒΑΝ GR7608900100003010003540200

Swift Code STKAGRA1


Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal

Pireaus Bank

IBAN: GR83 0172 0180 0050 1807 7868 253

Piraeus’s BIC code is PIRBGRAA

Send us your details to ( in order to be able to issue the receipt for your donation

Contact us:


More about our activities:

Lessons and creative activities in Welcommon Hostel for / with Ukrainian Women and children, refugees in Greece


















































Painting – solidarity activity to Ukrainian people at the entrance of the Welcommon Hostel by other young refugees

#StandWithUkraine #stopPutinWar  #solidarity #stopwarcrimes