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'Money wasted on vague social cohesion initiative'

1 July 2008 - On 21 June, United Smile distributed 2,500 'pass-on roses' at the Dappermarkt. The SP in Oost criticizes its own alderman for spending 11,000 euro on a 'vague' initiative.

Council member Tiers Bakker says the initiative is simply too expensive. He argues that the district should spend its money on measures that have a concrete and enduring impact on social cohesion rather than on symbolic measures like this one.

Interestingly, the initiative was defended by Willem Paquay, the first SP administrator in Amsterdam. The decision to subsidise the project was taken before he took office, but as a member of the Oost government he "had to defend it, and he did so with a great deal of verve", Bakker said.

The action at the Dappermarkt is part of a larger project United Smile is carrying out at the request of the Oost district. It has set up a 'compliments brigade' consisting of young and older residents. After the summer, there will be a new initiative to 'put a smile on people's faces', Dwarsweb reported.

United Smile is a 'youth foundation' that carries out feel-good projects on behalf of local governments. "By using our well-known metaphor of 'the sunbeam', United Smile wants to create positive and enduring 'warmth' for this cold-hearted society called the Netherlands, for which purpose people will create more warmth and respect for each other".

Image: compliments brigade (photo Oost district). Photos of the pass-on roses on Dwarsweb


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