Cascina Roccafranca is social and cultural centre in the southern outskirt of Turin. We started our activities in 2007 in a totally renovated old farm with 2500m2 covered space and 2000m2 of courtyard. Many services are provided: a reception area dedicated to inform and listen to citizens and a free help desks on legal, housing, trade union, administrative, bureaucratic problems. We have a day care centre with an outdoor playing area, where babies are welcome with their families. In Cascina Roccafranca there’s also a place called “Ecomuseo”, in which local historical memories are archived and accessible to citizens. We have a restaurant and a cafeteria, both run by a social cooperative where most of the employees are people suffering from social exclusion or mental illness. We have a lot of cultural activities, a monthly programme of events, music, theatre and dance. Some activities are organised by the Cascina and some are organised directly by the population. We have 100 courses, languages, dance, music, wellness… and we can say that about every week about 3500 attend activities in Cascina Roccafranca. There are a lot of people not only from our neighbourhood in the outskirts but from every part of the city.
Cascina Roccafranca – a public-civic partnership
What is your economic model?
We aim at reaching the maximum self-sustainability. When we started in 2007 we could only cover 33% of costs on our own, now we cover 66% of the costs. Our income comes from the establishment of commercial activities in support of the project: the restaurant, the cafeteria, the rental of space for activities, courses or private parties. We do fundraising with other public and private foundations, in particular we work with Compagnia di San Paolo – a Bank Foundation in the city of Turin. It’s a very important part of our balance because they give us every year 80,000 euros. We develop economic partnerships with the private sector on joint projects and we search for sponsorships, which are a little part of our balance.
Even if we are not formally a non-profit reality in the cultural and leisure field, we cannot distribute profits.
How is your public-civic partnership setup?
We call Cascina’s governance an ‘atypical Foundation in Participation’, a foundation created to manage a municipal building. The governance structure consists of a “Board of Directors” with 5 members: 3 of which are nominated by the City of Turin (the Councillor for integration policies, the President of the 2nd District and one member appointed by the District) and 2 members appointed by the “College of participants” (made by 45 associations and groups that operate in the Cascina).
We work with 80 associations and informal groups, 20 individuals, who promote activities, 40 volunteers, who are very important for us, and 13 employees.
We’re a public-private foundation, it’s an experiment, an attempt of close collaboration with the City Administration and after ten years we can say it’s a virtuous collaboration.
Interview with Stefania De Masi on 7th May 2016 by Eutropian