Starting a new project with new partners can be a shot in the dark. That is why SMALL’s kick-off meeting had to be a moment of enlightening: getting to know each other and creating a constructive reality check about what needs to be done to successfully bring SMALL to life. Besides that, we wanted to be more than just a group of people doing SMALL talks about their curriculum vitae. And what better way to create a reality check than putting the partners together in a room with the end-users and local stakeholder organisations that we will work within our project?
For the first informal event, we organised a ‘network & movie’ night where partners were introduced to the Trivélo service of De Fietsambassade in Ghent, one of our pilot partners in the project. Volunteers and users of this service, who are mainly less mobile and elderly people, were invited to have a chat and a snack at ‘Trefpunt’, part of the many cultural meeting places in the city. Besides that, relevant local stakeholder organisations were also present, such as the Flemish Elderly Council, Ditto vzw, Fietsersbond, and more.
Together, we watched a documentary called ‘Women don’t cycle’. This movie follows the journey of a woman biking from Brussels all the way to Japan, exploring how cycling is experienced by women in the countries and cultures she visits during her trip.
By the end of the evening, emails were exchanged, funny bike anecdotes were told, and the trivélo riksja’s were tested by the majority of the participants.
SMALL partners’ welcome to reality? Check!