The elderly, networking and good practices: survey on the needs – prospects of the Municipality of Syros-Ermoupoli

The Social Inclusion Observatory held a meeting with the Social Service and the Community Center of the Municipality of Syros-Ermoupoli and a field survey between 26-28 and 30 June, 2023. Interviews were conducted with:


a) the executives of the Community Center, Ilias Markousis and Ms. Maria Strati,

b) the Deputy Head of the Social Protection Department of the Municipality, Mr. Apostolos Maris,

c) the Deputy Municipal Councilor, President of the Equality Committee and Deputy Mayor for Cleanliness, Recycling, Green Spaces and Rural Development, Angeliki Printezi, and

d) 20 beneficiaries of social allowances.


First of all, we discussed with the Community Center executives the fact that they mainly deal with the benefits policy, but also with the new allowances/benefits for vulnerable population groups that are added to their responsibilities from time to time – several times without sufficient information. Therefore, due to lack of time and engagement with the administrative part, there is no possibility to deal with cases that need actual help. Among other things, it was emphasized that, as our population is aging, new needs will arise in the future regarding the elderly, but also lonely people that only a central policy on the elderly will be able to offer substantial solutions to. The future plans of the service were also mentioned, such as the mapping of the social needs of the island, the operation of an Equality Office within the framework of the Community Center, as well as the organization of health prevention actions with targeted initiatives.



The Deputy Head of the Department of Social Protection emphasized that the social service does not actually have a social worker on a permanent basis, while he also referred to the importance of networking, dialogue between the competent social bodies and the highlighting of good practices.


For her part, the Municipal Councilor emphasized the fact that Syros has long been socially aware, while she spoke to us about the natural beauty of the island and the feeling of security it exudes. She also referred to the great development that the island has experienced in recent years, both in the field of entrepreneurship and in terms of accessibility (reconstruction of sidewalks, guides for the blind, elevators, electrification points, etc.). Among other things, she emphasized the lack of culture that characterizes many young people, but also the fact that even today female-single-parent families are stigmatized.


The beneficiaries of social allowances mentioned the problems they face, such as high prices and cuts in their expenses, but also the fact that it is difficult for women raising their young children alone to work. Importantly, the older beneficiaries felt ashamed to receive help from their children and relatives.


We sincerely thank the Social Service and the Community Center of the Municipality of Syros-Ermoupoli as well as all the participants for their contribution to the work of the Observatory.






(Text and photos: Konstantina Kourkoumari)