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Council strikes deals on activities programming at Formentera senior centres

conveni majors 070515The Formentera Council, together with the four senior centres of the island, have signed a deal that promises funding for workshops and training course programming and maintenance operations at the different locales. In 2015, the retirees' club of Sant Francesc will receive nine thousand euros; the Sant Ferran centre, six thousand five hundred; the La Savina centre, four thousand five hundred and La Mola's senior centre – el Centre de Majors – four thousand.

From the Council, CiF president Jaume Ferrer and councillor of social welfare Dolores Fernández Tamargo were on hand to attend the morning ceremony. Representing the different centres were Margarita Sanchís (Sant Francesc Xavier retirees' club), Carles Tur (Club de Jubilats i Pensionistes de La Savina), Rita Costa (the retirees' club of Sant Ferran) and Jaume Escandell, of the now-one-year-old La Mola centre for the elderly.

Jaume Ferrer wished to thank “the club representatives and their boards for their work bettering the lives of the aged”. Dolores Fernández Tamargo noted that “accords like this one provide autonomy to the elderly. With the right resources, seniors can see to their own personal schedules”.

The representatives expressed their satisfaction with the help received. Margarita Sanchís announced: “The Sant Francesc club recognises what a sacrifice this is and we are grateful”. Standing beside Sanchís, Carlos Tur added that such collaboration was vital and “mustn't ever stop. Today it's us, but tomorrow it will be someone else”. Rita Costa and Jaume Escandell asserted their respective groups would do everything in their power to “offer the absolute best services and activities with this money”.

Of the different gathering places for the aged, the Sant Francesc centre has the most members (663). They are followed by Sant Ferran (268), La Mola (106) and La Savina (90). In total, there are currently more than 1,100 citizens affiliated with Formentera's elderly social centres.

Formentera Film Festival promises weekend packed with cinema

roda premsa film 060515 copiaToday at midday, representatives from the Formentera Council and the FormenteraRT organisation met before the public to present details regarding the third annual Formentera Film Festival, an international exhibition of documentary shorts and video art. Entry at Formentera Film, which is free, promises access to projections of 19 cinema shorts from directors across the globe. The event will take place 7-10 May, at 8:30pm at plaça de la Constitució in Sant Francesc, and 9-10 May, from 4:30pm in the municipal cinema. Parents are in luck, for from 9pm on the 9th and 10th, at the Centre Gabrielet, a staffed kids' corner will organise projections of children's movies.

The midday ceremony was held at the Centre Gabrielet and hosted by Sònia Cardona, councillor of culture, Alejandra Ferrer, councillor of tourism and trade, festival organisers Viviana Carlet and Monica Timperi, other members of the Formentera Film Festival team and the jury charged with judging the films.

Sònia Cardona highlighted the important role of the festival in assuring cultural entertainment on the island and touted “collaborative projects such as Formentera Marxa carried out with the local youth centre ('el Casal de Joves') as well as work done with students from local schools that led to the creation of short films with student-sculpted figurines serving as actors and interpretations of poems by Ben Clark, another supporter of the Formentera Film initiative”. Cardona gave thanks to the cinema for its eagerness to participate and to island youth for their artistic contributions.

Alejandra Ferrer too was positive about the repurcussions the event would have in this early moment of the season, both in terms of cultural programming and tourists' desire to visit. The councillor of tourism reminded those in the audience that, in May, “the gastronomic weekends, the photo competition, Formentera 2.0, the half marathon, and this festival itself, not only contribute to bringing significant numbers of visitors, they also help fill out leisure options on the island. We are talking about first-class cultural and sports programming taking place”.

Viviana Carlet spoke about the difficulty of “explaining the world in 19 short films” and called on anyone interested to come see for themselves. Carlet confided: “We would like to see this festival become something more than just a weekend affair. Our goal is to give Formentera roots; the whole project exists because of this island”.

The complete festival programme is available online at formenterafilm.com, though there was one item on the list that Carlet took special care to stress: the international debut of Italiano Medio by Maccio Capatona, whose attendance is expected, 10 May at 10:30pm. The festival's inaugurational concert will be handled by the Formentera conservatory and school of music, with additional musical duties will be assured by Guateque Sideral, 9 May from midnight.

The awards, as organisers were proud to mention, were all fashioned by local Formentera artists. Aaron Keydar crafted the award for best short (youth-selection), Enric Majoral created the award for audience favourite, Lorenzo Pepe the award for the jury-selected favourite and Andrés Rodríguez the prize for best children's film.

Council blasts Govern's “cynical” funding model for tourism promotion

alej ferrer 60515Local councillor of tourism and transport, Alejandra Ferrer, representing the Formentera Council, reproached “the cynical behaviour of the Regional Ministry of Tourism of the Govern Balear, which for two years has refused to provide the kind of sufficient or fair funding that would be necessary to transfer authority in tourism promotion to the smaller islands. And suddenly, the same administration has managed to make 43 million euros – exclusively for the Palau de Congressos in Palma – appear out of thin air”.

Ferrer explained that “this past April the Regional Ministry ('Conselleria') of Tourism earmarked a 20-million euro loan and 15.7 million in funding to a facility that serves Mallorca alone. This money is in addition to the 8 million plurianual assistance package that also benefits the Palau de Congressos project”.

Alejandra Ferrer explained her exasperation: “On the three other islands we have listened to the Govern tell us for two years that its proposed funding was as high as it could be. We even listened while regional minister Jaime Martínez's went before the Parlament Balear and accused Formentera of “irresponsibility” for not accepting Palma's proposed funding".

The Govern Balear's 2015 economic package proposed 5.3 millon euros for the four islands. Of that money, €644,000 was earmarked for Formentera, with very little possibility to increase that amount in future budgets. The proposal, according to Ferrer, “compromises the future of our island's promotion of tourism”, all the more dangerous because “[that promotion] is a key part of our strategy in distinguishing Formentera from our other major competitors”. Ferrer put it plainly: “This is a clear sign of the Govern's lack of interest in guaranteeing quality, unique promotion for each of the Balearic Islands.”

Formentera food bank gave assistance to 63 families in 2014

formentera solidarisThis morning, the Formentera Council and the Formenterers Solidaris organisation signed an accord to fund and coordinate, in 2015, outreach work in Formentera and collaborative projects in developing countries.

At the signing, CiF president Jaume Ferrer – alongside councillor of social welfare Dolores Fernández – thanked the Formentera NGO for its work and noted that “if every population of 12,000 did for the world what this organisation does, the world would be a lot better place”. From Formenterers Solidaris, the group's president Maria Costa and secretary Teresa Costa also attended.

Teresa Costa reported that in 2014, resources obtained by the group assured the reconstruction of ten homes damaged by cyclones in the West Godavari district of Adhra Pradesh (India) and funding for a hearing aid in Honduras. In addition, Formenterers Solidaris paid for two intercontinental plane tickets for individuals left without resources after acts of force majeure as well as a university grant for a family without resources. In addition, with the support of the Formentera Council, the organisation coordinated a second-hand market and distributed food bank products to local families, a particular point of pride for Councillor Fernández.  

Food bank

Teresa Costa, reporting on the 63 families reached by the food bank in 2014, expressed her thanks “for the interest the Formentera Council has shown in our work and for all its help”. In 2015, the number of families having received help is 42 so far. Costa explained that the “degree of help received by families is often different – some receive food bank products just once, while for others the need is more frequent”.

Collaboration between the Formentera Council and Formenterers Solidaris began in 2010 with a promise of €1,200 in funding from the local administration. Over the next three years, assistance increased to its current amount: three thousand euros. Formenterers Solidars currently has 35 members on the island, and as Teresa Costa boasted, “the people of Formentera have a profound sense of solidarity. Calls for help are always answered by a great deal of generosity. We are very grateful”.

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