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Free tutoring is back for struggling students

Foto RP taller de reforçIn a press conference this morning, the Formentera Council's office of social welfare unveiled its programme of free academic tutoring. The extra classes, explained department head Vanessa Parellada, are “for all five and six year students with learning difficulties or trouble following the normal rhythm of classes” and particularly “those students who require extra help transitioning to the school setting, or who've got difficulties in languages or maths”.

The 3.5-month tutoring course will start 7 March and continue through year end, picking up again in September for the first semester of the 2016-17 school year. Over the last four years 91 students have benefitted from the free classes. Says Parellada, the decision to extend the programme—which costs the Council €11,000—is due to its success.

This time around, some 20 students are expected to take part in the classes, which have been scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Both Maribel Jiménez, the coordinating teacher, and staff at Formentera schools, will decide which students are in need of the added help. Parents of interested students must complete an application at the office of social welfare by 3 March.

According to Jiménez, the tutoring sessions will be aimed at fostering success through motivation-minded, daily work. “Our starting point”, Jiménez explained, “will be the class work students are expected to complete—in English, Spanish, Catalan and maths. We'll work up from there”. The students' work will have the added benefit of promoting team work and social integration, since classes will be held in groups.

Council teams up with Espai Dones to tackle gender violence, promote equality

Conveni Espai Dones 2016 premsaEarlier today the Formentera Council and the Espai Dones association signed a deal laying the foundation of a partnership, valued at €3,000, «to promote equality and prevent gender violence», said Vanessa Parellada, councillor of social welfare.

According to the association's recently-appointed president, Dolores Tamargo, the accord will be crucial if Espai Dones is to continue to grow and achieve their antiviolence targets. The group expects to announce its activities programme for International Women's Day (8 March) next week. The programme, she said, will extend into April and be both educational and fun. She described it as «an array of actions that put the spotlight on gender equality and women's rights».

Since its creation, Espai Dones Formentera has used events like International Working Women's Day (March) and International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November) to promote its message of equality. This is the fourth year of the partnership between the Council and Espai Dones.

Minute of silence to condemn gender violence

Minut silenci dona CalviàThe Formentera Council took heed of the Govern Balear's call for a minute of silence to condemn the death of a woman in Calvià. Evidence available at present indicates the woman was killed by her partner, making her death the first of 2016 in the Balearic Islands to be caused by domestic violence.

The Council had extended a call to the entire population of Formentera, urging anyone who could to convene at the Sant Francesc town square at 12 noon. In a show of solidarity before the apparent act of gender violence were President Jaume Ferrer as well as workers and the other councillors of the local administration.

La Mola seniors' club to oversee activities at Casa del Poble

Signatura conveni la MolaThe Formentera Council and the seniors' club of la Mola (Associació de Majors del Pilar de la Mola) will form a partnership to oversee programming at la Casa del Poble, the town's social centre. According to the terms of the agreement, signed earlier today by CiF president Jaume Ferrer and Associació president Jaume Escandell, the Council will grant the seniors' club use of the centre for the planning of cultural and social events. The club will also receive a yearly sum of €6,000 to cover a portion of the cultural centre's operating costs.

Until now the seniors' club has been in charge of a part of la Casa del Poble programming, but under the new partnership agreement, the Associació de Majors will oversee all of the activities at the centre except the computer lab and office space the Council uses to manage island initiatives. According to Ferrer, the new partnership is a direct response to requests made by residents of the area. Escandell expressed his gratitude for what he sees as a vote of confidence from the Council and promised the local social centre will soon see more programming, not just for la Mola residents, but for the island at large. Councillor of social services Vanessa Parellada was also present at the signing. She stressed that strong local associations like the Associació de Majors are an important to the island and crucial to ensuring a vibrant local community in la Mola.

Disability assessments now possible on Formentera

Foto valoracio grau discapacitat premsaYesterday, the Govern Balear staff specialists in charge of assessing degrees of discapacity visited the Formentera day centre. Vicent Verdera, an 84 year old Formentera-native, was the first patient the workers met with. According to Mr Verdera’s daughter, Pepita, though almost two years have gone by since doctors amputated her father’s leg, architectural barriers have meant Mr Verdera has been unable to make the trip to Eivissa to have his disability assessed. The Verderas were not alone. Two other patients at the day centre also benefitted from the visit by the employees of the Govern. Other specialists – a doctor, a psychologist and a social worker – are also available to come to Formentera upon request, thus sparing residents trips to Eivissa, explained Vanessa Parellada, head of Formentera’s office of social welfare.

Until now, Formentera residents who needed the degree of their disability assessed were required to schedule an appointment and travel to Eivissa, «with all the inconveniences that came along with it», added Councillor Parellada. «We proposed a possible solution to the regional minister of social services – Fina Santiago – and she accepted», said Parellada, pointing out that the Govern was itself eager to ensure social services were within the reach of Formentera residents.

The Council pays for the specialists’ travel costs to the Formentera day centre, where they have access to a work space. Interested individuals, Parellada concluded by saying, can contact the social services office of Formentera – or Eivissa – for more information or to request a local visit by one of the available specialists.

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