Modernizing Lūznavas Manor in Latvia with social entrepreneurship

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Lūznava Manor held a "Creative UNworkshop" (“Radošā NEdarbnīca”) on November 29 to find a use for the manor's old school building, and one of the solutions was modernizing the space by using it for social entrepreneurship, according to a Latvian Radio broadcast on December 2.

The manor building in the Latgale region currently stands unused and empty, decorated on the outside with artwork. “The old school building, just like many of the manor buildings, is currently still in a degraded state, but awaits a rebirth, and so it's a resource for new opportunities,” said Lūznava Manor Manager Iveta Balčūne.

“Expence shows us how a few years ago Kulturys škiuņs (Culture Shed) was also just a wood shed, but it's currently gained a new function. Once in a while new projects turn up, and at the Lūznava Manor the old smither is about to be reborn with a new project,” said Balčūne.

Lūznava Manor is a member of the Social Entrepreneurship Association and has organized several social entrepreneurship seminars to discuss how entrepreneurship can have added social capital. Representatives from various industries participated in the Creative UNworkshop to discuss social entrepreneurship and generate ideas for the old school building.

The Ūdenszīmes (Watersigns) association shared their experience operating in the closed Kaldabruņas school building in the Jēkabpils region, where they create glass dishes and do laser cutting.

“We're a very typical example of entrepreneurship. We operate in the countryside and with our business profit we maintain the building, organize events, concerts, lectures, exhibits,” said idea author Ieva Jātniece.

The vision for the Lūznava Manor school building is currently being developed. Some of the ideas include creating a cafe, which would employ people with movement disabilities, or creating a space where people can go through emotional recovery under the guidance of a professional trainer. The manor manager emphasises that it's important for there to be a vision of the building's operations if there is hope of attracting financing for renovations.

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