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Social welfare staff take a walk in seniors' shoes

Foto vestit edat avancadaThe Formentera Council Office of Social Welfare has scheduled a number of day-long training sessions for elderly-care staff of the department and of the Formentera Day Centre to enhance the workers' ability to empathise with their clients' daily reality. CiF councillor of social welfare Vanessa Parellada visited the centre, where the sessions will be held, to describe details of the initiative.

The training began yesterday and continues through today in the form of theory- and practise-based classes, during which the workers will have the opportunity to don a suit that limits their perception of sight, sound, touch and motion, putting them – explained the CiF councillor – “in the shoes of someone between 70 and 85 years old.” Parellada called the classes “a great opportunity for our own staff to better understand the situation faced by our island's elderly” and hoped the experience improved the service workers are able to give.

The course, which was held for the first time this February in Menorca, was led by Stephan Biel, a specialist in social gerontology. The idea for the advanced age simulating suit came from Volkswagen. The German automaker developed the suits in an effort to make its manufacturing process more suitable for ageing workers. Use of the suits has since caught on among elderly-care organisations as a training tool for staff. Organisation of the training sessions cost the Formentera Council 1,500 euros.

Homegrown Catalan campaign extends to Eivissa. Next up: Menorca and Mallorc

Foto presentacio Histories del CatalaEarlier today in the conference hall of the Formentera Council's Office of Culture, local and regional elected officials gathered for a presentation of a Catalan language campaign that has recently experienced a revival: Històries del Català. CiF councillor of culture Susana Labrador was joined by her opposite number in Eivissa, David Ribas, the director general of the Govern Balear's language policy division, Marta Fuxà, and local councillors from various Eivissa ajuntaments (village councils). Representatives of Eivissa village councils included Marivó Mengual, from the education and language office of the Ajuntament d'Eivissa; Ana Costa, from the culture office of the Ajuntament de Santa Eulària des Riu; María José Guisado Costa, from the education office of the Ajuntament de Sant Josep de sa Talaia; Raúl Díaz Guerrero, from the community involvement office of the Ajuntament de Sant Antoni de Portmany; and Santiago Marí, from the culture office of the Ajuntament de Sant Joan de Labritja.

The creative minds behind the campaign set out to “represent the stories of people who have come to live on the island and are studying Catalan,” said Councillor Labrador. She recalled that the first campaign took place in 2011 under the aegis of the Formentera Council's language advisory service, or SAL. This year, the CiF office reached out to administrations on the larger Pitiüsa island and ultimately received interest from a host of ajuntaments. Having decided to hop on board as well, Menorca will also oversee filming of its own set of stories this summer. The SAL says the response from Mallorca was positive too. The Eivissa reps and Ms Fuxà offered congratulations regarding the initiative's success and thanked the Formentera SAL for engaging with them on a project like Històries del Català.

The project focuses on the story of 12 individuals on Formentera and 13 on Eivissa. They are people who, in addition to living in this corner of the Balearic archipelago, share the added particularity of having studied Catalan. The protagonists represent an array of differing origins; one hails from Madrid, another is a native of the Canary Islands and others represent Italy, Russia, Galicia, Slovakia and Morocco. The first part of the project involved creating the graphic and audiovisual material, which was unveiled today. Henceforth, each ajuntament and island council will be in charge of promoting their 'Catalan stories'. The Councils of Formentera and Eivissa came together to create a website to host a compilation of stories and videos from both islands: www.historiesdelcatala.cat.

Each village council assumed the production costs of filming històries in their area. In the end 25 stories were filmed at a total cost of 3,000 euros. The website, which receives funding from both island councils, has so far had a cost of 800 euros. The stories are also being picked up by the media, proof that Catalan remains a vibrant language used even by recent arrivals in their day-to-day life. 

La Mola gets pilot programme to curb snake population

Foto reunio serpsAt eight yesterday evening in the Casa del Poble community centre of la Mola, Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, environment councillor Daisee Aguilera and the regional minister of the Govern Balear, Vicenç Vidal, met to unveil information on a new push to control numbers of snakes on the island, a joint campaign led by the CiF and the administration in Palma.

According to Councillor Aguilera, since April 29 eighteen cages built by students at Eivissa's school of art and artisanry have been set up around the island. With 20 snakes nabbed, Aguilera assured the traps were already proving their worth. Another five traps will be installed today, though if necessary that number could increase to 100. Aguilera indicated that so far efforts have focused on la Mola, the most affected area on the island, but said other traps would be laid elsewhere to establish the full scope of the snakes' spread. She enlisted the entire island to help keep numbers under control, directing residents who see snakes to “report it to the Office of Environment.”

As Minister Vidal pointed out, this species of snakes is invasive on Formentera and, in his words, “a threat to our local biodiversity”. Nevertheless, he assured residents there was no reason to panic. According to Vidal, the species targeted —Rhinechis scalaris—, “poses no threat to people.” As a problem affecting both Formentera and Eivissa, the climbing snake numbers received the attention of the Govern Balear, which is leading the current charge. The officials also identified another objective: preventing the arrival of new snakes, which generally come as stowaways on ornamental olive trees shipped from the mainland.

Can Marroig sees return to traditional farming

Foto signatura conveniEarlier today in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council (CiF), administration president Jaume Ferrer met with Vicenç Vidal, regional environment minister of the Govern Balear and president of Institut Balear de la Natura (IBANAT), to sign off on an agreement giving Formentera use rights over a stretch of public land in Can Marroig. Ownership of the parcel is held by IBANAT. Also present at the signing were CiF councillor of rural affairs Bartomeu Escandell and IBANAT chair Ramón Villalonga.

The goal of the five-year renewable agreement is to give the land an agricultural use. President Ferrer voiced his hope that stewardship of the parcel go to the Formentera Farmers' Co-operative. The president said control of the 12-hectare plot had for some time been the object of petitions by the Formentera Council. The land will be worked and maintained using environmentally-friendly methods.

Govern Balear minister Vidal called the renewed agricultural use of the land a milestone and underscored the importance of conserving Formentera's biodiversity. He celebrated it as “the first case we've had of public land being given this kind of productive use.” Care of the parcel will be incorporated into the Farmland Reserve project of the Formentera Farmers' Co-operative. The land-use revival project was launched in March 2015 and today includes a register of 140 hectares. Through its support of the Farmers' Co-op and initiatives like the Farmland Reserve, the Council invests in the renewal of Formentera's primary sector and protecting the island's natural beauty.

Formentera Half Marathon welcomes 2,600 runners

mitjamaratóAlongside a team of sponsors, organisers and staff from his own department, CiF sports councillor Jordi Vidal reported this morning on the details of this weekend's eighth annual Formentera Half Marathon. Staff specialist Daniel de la Dueña and two representatives from sponsor organisations of Saturday's race, Josep Marí (Caixabank) and Nuria de la Torre (Trasmapi), were among those at a press conference.

One thousand seven hundred runners signed up for the 21km half marathon. They will gather and start from the la Mola lighthouse at 5.30pm. Another 900 will set out in Sant Ferran at the same time on the 8km circuit. On routes that cut across Es Pujols, both races will finish in la Savina. A team of 100 volunteers will help organisers ensure a smooth succession of the day's events. Traffic will be cut off from Sant Ferran to la Mola from 4.30pm; in the opposite direction, it will be blocked from 5,30pm. It will reopen in both cases at 7.30pm. The same cuts will occur simultaneously along the la Savina-Es Pujols-Sant Ferran road.

Remarking on the enormous popularity of the marathon, Councillor Vidal noted safety was behind a cap on registration. He took the opportunity to applaud organisers and participants alike on what he hoped would be a great chance to experience the island. Vidal also thanked the marathon's sponsors and body of volunteers and public safety officers for making the event a reality.

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