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Textbook reuse programmes and future teachers get 42,000€ in assistance

The office of education of the Formentera Council (CiF) has announced the assistance package it will provide, retroactively, for the textbook reuse programme for the 2014-2015 school year. The Council's funding for the programme —  42,000 euros all told — will go toward the acquisition of textbooks used in primary and secondary schools as well as individual aid packages for future teachers in early-childhood education programmes during the 2014-2015 school year.

Education councillor Susana Labrador explained the allocation delay was the result of updates to the regulatory process — changes agreed upon by the Council and island schools. As for 2015-2016 financial assistance, Councillor Labrador indicated it would come during the current school year, as is customary. She said the programme was about «solidarity» and commented, «the goal of the aid is to promote a co-operative approach to reusing textbooks, not to mention provide assistance to families with heavy financial burdens and already stretched resources».

Multi-child and single-parent families
The current aid will go to the primary and secondary schools of Formentera that have a textbook reuse programme, as well as any students of early-childhood teaching programmes or pupils belonging to multi-child or single-parent families and attending primary or secondary school.

Application period ends 10 December
Local schools will receive 70 euros for each primary school pupil and 90 euros per pupil in secondary. Likewise, for students of early-learning teaching programmes, the Council will pay up to 50% of education costs, or up to 100% if they are a member of a multi-child or single-parent family. Interested applicants should visit the Citizens' Information Office (OAC) before 10 December. Applications will be reviewed and judged competitively.

For programming on Day of the Child, Formentera pull out all the stops

RP infanciaEarlier today, councillor of social welfare of the Formentera Council (CiF), Vanessa Parellada, unveiled the list of activities currently being coordinated by the departments of the Council for this 20 November, International Day of the Child. The celebration will be one more way to assure the different documents that safeguard human rights – whether the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – are heeded. Explained Parellada: «These declarations define a clear path with respect to the conditions and opportunities necessary for children’s well-being and development».

At the local level these tenets are reflected in a number of ways: first, as the councillor noted, there was the Child-friendly City distinction received by the Formentera Council on 17 October 2014. At that time, the CiF committed to drafting a plan to increase youth visibility and involvement on the island. Hence, this year, the departments of the Council with youth programmes put their heads together to create an extra special Day of the Child celebration.

Promoting sport and physical fitness
Councillor of sport Jordi Vidal described the open-house on 21 November as the perfect opportunity for children and families to get a close-up look at the Antoni Blanc sports centre and the wide range of activities offered there. «Moreover», Vidal explained, «from eight to midnight the evening prior, the fitness centre is putting on a special night of sports for youth 14 to 18».

Education and culture
Councillor Labrador spoke about the different educational and cultural activities planned for 20 November. First: a series of eight beach-cleaning outings will get local schoolchildren out in the sun and participating in civics. Children of the island will also be taking part in a UNICEF-hosted drawing competition that carries the tagline «Reinventing the future». Then, in an initiative to promote intergenerational exchange, Formentera pupils in year five and six will be taking time out of their day to play board games with users of the island's day centre. Part of the same push, the Sant Ferran centre for the aged will host a craft workshop of traditional toys this 7 November.

Councillor Labrador spoke about the following three activities that make up the cultural side of Day of the Child festivities: a concert, 5:30 p.m. on Sunday 8 November by Dàmaris Gelabert, at the cinema; a film projection in the Sant Ferran library on 12 November; and — also at the cinema — a storytelling session on 18 November.

Raising environmental awareness
For her part, councillor of environment Daisee Aguilera talked about the importance of consciousness-raising activities — like the beach-cleaning walks her office coordinates — for even young children. She announced one such foray is already planned — especially for families — for 22 November. Participants can also take part in a special workshop on recycling.

Staff specialist of the Council's office of youth services, Mònica Rey, signalled two upcoming talks directed at parents or any adult interested in parenting. The first of these is called Els fills no vénen de Mart. Els pares de vegades ho sembla (Children don't come from Mars. Sometimes it seems parents do), and will be led by Paco Pérez from 7 p.m. in the conference hall of the CiF cultural building. The following Friday the 13th at the same time and place, Anna Manso will give a talk called Mares i pares imperfectes (Imperfect parents).

On 20 November, Formentera children will visit the Balearic parliament in Palma to take part in a plenary session of the children's parliament there. Then, 26 November, a certain number will be party to a plenary of the youth participatory council (el Consell de Participació de la Infància i la Joventut), held in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council. Finally, Rey announced a concert for local youth would take place at 9:30 pm, 27 November, in the Sa Senieta tent.

Council's culture department gets backing from Fundació Baleària

RP acord Balearia CulturaThis morning in press conference, Susana Labrador, culture councillor of the Formentera Council, gave details regarding the administration's budding partnership with Fundació Baleària — an alliance she said would soon materialise as a collaborative accord that will free up funding for cultural programming. Also present at the event were Fundació Baleària's managing director Ricard Pérez Ivars, Baleària's Pitiüsa delegate Joan Serra and the staff specialist of the Formentera Council office of culture, Verònica Arenas.

Pérez described the Fundació's goal as «creating platforms where culture can be exchanged between people in the different areas Baleària travels». He evoked marketplaces of the past, saying the transport company «wants to create points of cultural exchange». Councillor Labrador spoke of a desire for an increase in the cultural acts coming to the island — and of her hope Formentera's own cultural exports can increase as well. For start of 2016, she said, the CiF office of culture is in the midst of putting together a presentation of children's theatre in addition to the standard programme of stage productions and concerts. But she spoke of the office's work to bring a wider variety of acts – like dance shows – to local audiences.

Business partnerships
The councillor said it was important that business got involved too, asserting local trades could «help bring diverse and quality acts to Formentera, and at the same time promote Formentera's own cultural exports outside the island».

At WTM in London, tourism reps tout Formentera as ideal training site for athletes

triatlo premsaToday was the first day of the World Travel Market, the most important day in tourism promotions on the English calendar. CiF president Jaume Ferrer, tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer and head of the local tourism advisory board (el Patronat de Turisme) Carlos Bernús met before media and travel agency representatives to give an idea of some of the most important sports events slated to take place this season on Formentera. The half marathon, triathlon, the lighthouse-to-house race (de Far a Far) and the Formentera All Round Trail were just a few.

But, said Councillor Ferrer, they explained to WTM attendants that Formentera is more than just a backdrop for sports events: «We underscored the fact that the island is absolutely ideal for athletic training. Fortunately, they don't have to look very far — at our very first Olympic contender, windsurfer Mateo Sanz, or the 32 different green trails offering athletes the chance to get in shape in an unbeatable setting — to see this is the case».

Conversations with members of the press and travel agencies were aimed at getting the word out about several more niche tourism attractions — like the island as a destination for photographers and birdwatchers. «Our idea», said the councillor of tourism, «is try to increase numbers in the pre- and post-season». After the presentation portion of the event, the island's catering college served a gastronomic sampling and wine from the island's own Terramoll vineyard.

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