Mayor: Simos Daniilidis
The Municipality of Neapolis – Sykies, founded in 2011, is a municipality of the Thessaloniki Regional Unit of the Region of Central Macedonia, stretching to the northeastern end of the Thessaloniki Urban Complex.
For many decades, the Municipality of Neapoli-Sykies has been widely considered to be a model municipality in terms of its social policies and the peaceful coexistence among its residents. In addition, it has a long history of designing and implementing inclusive practices that focus on equal opportunities in education, healthcare, employment, etc.
The Municipality’s structures and services are designed to best serve the needs of citizens and especially those belonging to vulnerable groups (eg people with disabilities, refugees, etc. ). In addition, the municipality has contributed significantly to raising awareness and mobilizing all residents in favour of multiculturalism and integration of migrants and refugees.
More specifically, both migrants and refugees living in the city have equal access to social benefits, such as schools, the Children’s Creative Center, the municipal gym, the swimming pool, the municipal vegetable garden, social services, the social grocery store, the social pharmacy, municipal clinics and cultural events.
Neapoli – Sykies is one of the first municipalities that took action in the management of the refugee crisis, with its direct involvement in refugee integration strategies. This is achieved through its participation in the REACT corporate scheme coordinated by the Municipality of Thessaloniki within the ESTIA accommodation program, renting apartments throughout the municipality and seeking to create a friendly and safe environment for families and individuals (asylum seekers).
Our main goal with regards to integration, is to safeguard equal rights and opportunities for all, and to tackle social exclusion and discrimination.
Simos Daniilidis, Mayor of Neapoli – Sykies
Since 2016, the Municipality of Neapoli-Sykies participates in the React program together with the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the Municipality of Kalamaria and other bodies, within a corporate scheme. The REACT program is part of the “ESTIA II 2021: Housing program for applicants of international protection”, which is implemented by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum. The purpose of the REACT program is to contribute to the overall effort to address the refugee crisis in Greece.
Through the accommodation program, the Municipality provides 45 fully equipped rental apartments – with full coverage of bills – to large and single-parent families as well as individuals. In addition to the full management and supervision of the apartments (plumbing and electrical problems, equipment, billing, etc.), the program provides the beneficiaries with psychosocial support.
The Greek Language School has been operating in the Municipality of Neapoli – Sykies since 2009, with the academic guidance of the Pedagogical Department of Primary Education of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Every year, about 100 people graduate, while dozens of “students” have already the Greek language proficiency certificate (Greek Language Center).
During the school year, in parallel with the lessons, activities are carried out with the aim of the better integration of students in the Greek society, through their acquaintance with the city, history and culture.
This year, the Greek Language School took the initiative to form special classes, in order to cater for the needs of the refugee population. More specifically, three classes were set up for beneficiaries of the Municipality’s housing program, with the aim of obtaining the basic level of spoken Greek.
In the Municipality of Neapoli – Sykies there are four counselling stations, in the municipal units of Agios Pavlos, Sykies, Neapoli and Pefkon. Their main function is the provision of support to citizens facing a wide range of psychosocial issues.
More specifically, the services of the counselling stations concern:
One of the most important initiatives of the Municipality of Neapoli – Sykies – one that reflects the spirit of social solidarity and social contribution – is the municipal blood bank, and is one of the largest blood banks in the country. In 2020 alone, and in the midst of a pandemic, five voluntary blood donation missions were organized, of which three scheduled and two emergencies, due to increased hospital needs for blood. 1,753 units of blood were collected, while by the end of the year the available stock was 12,066 units.
Along with raising public awareness about their participation in blood donation, there is a systematic mobilization for participation in the platelet network, the Organ Donor Registry, the bone marrow volunteer network and the cord blood bank, with a variety of information activities.
In addition, during the blood donation missions, an opportunity is given to those who wish to support the social pharmacy of the municipality with drugs (mainly painkillers and antibiotics for children and adults).
Finally, it is worth noting that ESTIA beneficiaries who are hosted in municipal departments also participate in this initiative.MORE
The basic goods supply structures consist of the Community Centre which is housed in the municipal unit of Sykea and serves the residents of the Municipality of Neapoli – Sykies. The Community Center mainly focuses on submitting applications for Social Solidarity Income and Housing Allowance.
In addition, the social grocery – food store and the social pharmacy, serve citizens based on specific social criteria, as well as asylum seekers and recognized refugees who are either beneficiaries of the REACT program (run by the Municipality of Neapoli – Sykies), or are beneficiaries of other organizations and live in the Municipality. The purpose of these benefits is to support both citizens and people living temporarily in the Municipality (as part of integration programs), in meeting their basic needs, such as food and health care, to live with dignity and security.
In addition, REACT beneficiaries were offered emergency packages by the Social Grocery store (including long-term food supply, and supplies of diapers, and personal hygiene items) and were prioritised in case of possible payment delays or interruptions.MORE
The municipal vegetable garden is another initiative of the Municipality. In the gardens available in the three municipal units of Neapolis, PefkA and Sykies, the beneficiaries t are granted the use and exploitation for their own consumption of the vegetables they grow in a garden of 50sqm, with the full support of the municipality (free water supply, plants, tools, advice and support from an agronomist, etc.). This support is provided by the Green Service of the Municipality, while the seedlings are offered through a sponsorship to the Municipality.
Finally, in the framework of the program “Harmonization of Family & Professional Life” of the Hellenic Society of Local Development and Local Government, employees of the Counselling Centers provide information to mothers regarding specific documents required and support them in the completion of applications for free Nursery-Child-Nursery Schools and Children Creative Centers. From 2018, the program is also available to refugee mothers.