Anna Kucinska
21 August 2014

Design supporting social value - WellDone from Poland

The “Being Together” foundation has worked with the Academy of Fine Arts from Warsaw, the Holon Institute of Technology from Israel and the Cieszyn Castle and together they have created the “Idea to Object, Object to Product” project in which young designers have designed products that would suit the needs of a social enterprise managed by the foundation. Currently all these products are manufactured in workshops run by the foundation by the people who are returning to the labour market with the support from “ Being Together”. Profits from the sales of the objects are intended for the foundation's statutory objectives.
The “Being Together” foundation, established in 2007 in Cieszyn, Poland, supports social enterprises and cooperatives, companies focused on social value and non-governmental organisations. The foundation runs its own social enterprise and projects aiming at activating people who are unemployed or threatened with social exclusion through work and training. “Being Together” helps create new jobs and supports those susceptible to social exclusion in reintegrating into society. The social enterprise run by the foundation includes a network of workshops such as a carpenter's workshop, a locksmith's workshop and a laundry. The social enterprise also provides gastronomical and sewing services in co-operation with other social businesses established in its premises.
As the authors of the project state on the project's website, the products offered are “made from natural materials, simple, witty and intelligent, not only useful but also perfect gifts”. They include wooden toys for children, candle holders, tea light holders, business card holders, wine holders and hangers. They have been designed by over a dozen of young designers mostly from Poland and several from Israel. The designed products have been exhibited in Poland, Israel, France and Germany.
This pioneering initiative was supported by the United Nations Development Programme, which resulted in a complex and professional visualisation of the WellDone brand as well as designing new products. As the next step, the authors of the project are planning to establish a Social Design Centre which will provide education and promote results which social organisation can achieve thanks to the use of design in their activities.