Borgo San Felice brings its social commitment in-house at the Hotel
“Providing incentives for dialogue between different generations and different ways of life is a clear responsibility for those who work within the non-profit sector. Our work demonstrates that, in our field, actions count for so much more than words“.
Such is the philosophy of Nicola Corti, Secretary General of the Allianz Group’s Fondazione Umana Mente.
It is in this spirit that Borgo San Felice has lent its support to the Fondazione Umana Mente, making available the Hotel in order to create opportunities for personal growth and dialogue amongst disabled or disadvantaged young people.
This has led to the creation of “Vendemmiando raccogliendo Insieme” (Picking and Harvesting Together), an initiative supported by six Allianz Group organisations (Fondazione Umana Mente, AGA Allianz Global Assistance, which donates one Euro to the Project for every policy sold online, Allianz s.p.a, Relais & Chateau Borgo San Felice, Agricola San Felice and Allianz Bank FA), united in the coordination of a shared project of solidarity and integration, together with 12 non-profit organisations.
The result is a social welfare project, coordinated with the aim of giving those living with a disability or who are disadvantaged the chance to experience a period of learning and independence outside of their usual context, creating an opportunity for dialogue and personal growth.
The young participants spent three days in the Hotel Borgo San Felice, in Castelnuovo Berardenga, and took part in the primary phase of the grape harvesting and in the various related agricultural activities.
Supported by volunteers from several Allianz Group organisations, and in close contact with the agricultural experts from Agricola San Felice, the young people were able to learn firsthand about local agricultural farming, as well as play an active role in the grape harvesting in the Agricola San Felice vineyards.
And that’s not all.
They also visited and met the various artisan producers in and around Castelnuovo Berardenga. They observed the different stages in ceramics production in the workshop at Ceramiche Rampini, a company that has been creating world-famous ceramics for many years; and they also took part in mini cookery courses held by Chef Francesco Bracali of the Poggio Rosso restaurant.
A personal and professional experience that got everyone involved, and that makes the Management at Hotel Borgo San Felice ever prouder to confirm, every year, its firm support of the initiative.
The first session, from 23 to 26 September, took place during the grape harvesting period and involved people with congenital learning disabilities; whilst the second, organised from 2 to 5 November, during the olive harvest, involved young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Throughout their experience, the young people were accompanied by staff from the Hotel, from the Agricola and by various organisation volunteers.
One big, united group.
An experience that enriched the lives of all those who took part, forming a constructive dialogue between people from different ways of life, bringing them face to face, to work together and to learn from one another.
Volunteers, professionals and hotel staff, who thought they would be able to “give something”, found themselves “getting so much”.
And even the Hotel guests took part in the activities on the spur of the moment, sharing the satisfaction they felt to be involved on social media or via email.
In short, a time of growth for everyone: leaders, organisers, volunteers, young people.
As well as for you readers, we hope.
Is there something else we should add?
Yes, there is something to add.
Because, thanks to the enthusiasm of the organisation and the participants, we have been able to expand the project’s objectives and launch the new initiative, “Impariamo nel Borgo” (Learning in the Borgo).
The key figures in this are a group of disadvantaged young people who, after a short summer placement working in various roles in the Hotel Borgo San Felice, said that they would like to stay on in the Hotel to “learn a profession”.
This spontaneous declaration was the catalyst for the creation of an intense collaborative network, involving Borgo San Felice, the Fondazione Umana Mente and the Region of Lombardy, whose aim was to set up more structured and continuous paths of learning for these keen youngsters.
The project became a reality in 2011, an opportunity for the young men and women involved to put their talents to the test whilst learning a profession within a place of excellence, acquiring substantial training and experience in important, transferable skills.
In May 2012, to the great satisfaction and pleasure of organisers and participants alike, the Hotel Borgo San Felice was awarded the “Sodalitas Social Award” by the Italian confederations AssoLombarda and Confindustria, for the category “Youth employment and promotion of integration in the workplace”.
Well done everyone and… see you next year!