Olivia associated with social activity
Business centers are rarely associated with social activity, commitment to ecology, urban projects or good neighbourly relations. The Olivia Business Centre in Gdańsk shows that it can be different. Over the past 12 months, social initiatives established around the business centre include reconstruction of an avenue of trees along the main Tri-City artery, a neighborhood budget supporting local projects submitted by residnts, as well as a campaign to collect computer equipment, which was given to students at risk of educational exclusion during online education.
Szymon Renk, an employee of the commercial department at Olivia Business Centre, has prepared the project Grunwaldzka Avenue with a big A. It is an initiative that aims to restore the character of an urban avenue to Grunwaldzka Avenue in Gdańsk. As late as in the 1960s, Grunwaldzka was a road surrounded by beautiful trees, providing shade, friendly greenery, filtering the air and limiting high temperatures during periods of summer heat. Currently, there is no trace of the trees and many residents of the Tri-City no longer remember the street's former character. Szymon's project was submitted to the Gdańsk Civic Budget in 2020 and gained enormous support from inhabitants, obtaining the highest number of votes from all submitted projects.
- Urban planning is my eternal passion. - says Szymon Renk, the creator of the project. I read books devoted to this, I look at pictures of cities from all over the world, I browse discussion forums every day. Last year, I came across a photo of Aleja Grunwaldzka from the 1960s by chance, when it did not resemble today’s unpleasant "highway" at all. With this project, I would like to change the nature of the avenue that I use every day. This street has great potential in terms of urban fabric, with service premises on the ground floors. Olivia has done this in the last 10 years. This will be confirmed by anyone who remembers the neglected wastelands, the used car dealership or go-kart track, which were located in the location of today's Tri-City business showcase. I submitted the project because it is an ideal place where you can make people notice that the street is not only a road, without any harm to any street user. It is also green, small architecture, a sidewalk encouraging walks or a bicycle path. Through this project, I would like to act "at the root", so that the residents change their perception of the city, so that the residents of Oliwa, students and office workers feel that it is pleasant to go to SKM or to go to work by bike; so that service outlets in this area start to be vibrant with life. - adds Szymon Renk.
Commitment to the Medical Community and those in need
While that project is currently waiting to be implemented, the Olivia community is implementing new, equally important initiatives. From spring 2020, Olivia Business Centre has been financing food deliveries for employees of the St. Wojciech Hospital. in Zaspa, Gdańsk, who are on the front line in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, over 10 thousand meals have been delivered. In addition, food is also delivered twice a week to the Oliwa support points for people in need as part of the Soup in Oliwa project. These are "food sharing" refrigerators, to which the inhabitants and Oliwa’s gastronomy entrepreneurs provide food every day.
During the pandemic, Olivia Business Centre launched a number of initiatives called Together We Can Do More, which were addressed to the medical community, and aimed at supporting their activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, Olivia financed the construction of a fully ready-for-research, ready-to-use diagnostic module in Gdańsk Zaspa. It allows people to be tested for the presence of coronavirus in front of the hospital building and is the first project of its kind in Poland. The second such unit, also financed by Olivia Business Centre, was erected at the campus of the University of Gdańsk and was the first walk-thru testing center for Covid-19 in Poland, enabling testing of pedestrians. Moreover, under the project Together We Can Do More, hospitals in Gdańsk received a respirator, a fumigator, medical clothing and protective masks.
Olivia Business Centre has also supported the voluntary service of Dominican Fathers, who set up a helpline for people who need help during quarantine, in isolation or with fear of being infected.
Supporting Students during Remote Education and Initiatives for the Development of the District
The Społecznik OBC group established within the Olivia Business Centre Facebook page is very dynamic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this informal group has been collecting used computers as part of the Laptops for Students campaign. Residents of Olivia Business Centre and likeminded institutions have already collected over 60 computers, which were then transferred free of charge to Oliwa’s schools. The campaign is aimed at countering the digital exclusion of students who, due to the lack of computers, are at risk of educational exclusion during the period of online learning. Currently, OBC Community Members are talking with the Santander Group about acquiring as many as 80 computers. They require adaptation to the needs of students, therefore group members ask for support in the form of purchasing software or hardware, as well as help in configuring computers.
In autumn last year, the Oliwa Neighborhood Budget - a project of financial support for initiatives submitted by the district's residents - had its first edition. Its aim is to improve the quality of their lives, modernize the surrounding space and introduce solutions that will increase local interactions. Both soft projects (meetings, courses or workshops) as well as permanent infrastructure projects, , could apply for funding. In the edition, which was resolved in September, three projects were successful: Library +, submitted by a group of Oliwa’s parents. A children's department was established in the district's library to persuade the youngest inhabitants of Oliwa to visit the library more often and to accustom them to books and reading. The second project, Cultural & Culinary Oliwa, was submitted by the Inicjatywa Miasto Association (City Initiative) and by the Special Schools Complex No.2. This project aims to create a map of Oliwa with the best attractions of the district, lesser known places that are worth seeing, as well as restaurants, cafes and other service points. Thanks to this, it will be possible to widely promote local entrepreneurs. The third project that received funding is the Art - creation project, submitted by the Association for People with Parkinson's Disease and Brain Degenerative Diseases and Caregivers: Park On. As part of this project, funding was granted to 18 art and ceramic workshops with elements of art therapy, dedicated to people who, due to their age or the consequences of progressive degenerative brain disease, are at risk of depression, loss of activity, and may suffer a sense of exclusion.
Social projects contribute to meeting local needs, improving the quality of life, and also allow investors to contribute to the development of the environment in which they develop their business. They are an excellent example of synergy that allows neighbours of large investment projects to benefit from new projects that appear in their nieghbourhood.