Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades – the first trip of the Observatory to the Cyclades

The first survey of the Observatory in the Cyclades took place in the Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades, from June 19 to 22, 2023 (and online on Tuesday, July 4).


Interviews were conducted with:


a) the executives of the Community Center of Naxos and Small Cyclades, Ms. Paraskevi Economou, Ms. Irini Moustaka and Ms. Emmanuela Vasilaki,

b) the Deputy Mayor of Welfare, Health and Social Affairs, Dimitrios Manios, Deputy Mayor of Social Welfare, Gender Equality, Public Health and Rural Development,

c) the Deputy Head of the Autonomous Department of Social Protection, Education and Culture of the Municipality of Naxos, Katerina Protonotariou, and

d) 13 beneficiaries of social allowances.


Among other things, we discussed with the Community Center staff the fact that the Community Center provides services for all the citizens of Naxos and the Small Cyclades in person and/or remotely, regarding any issue that concerns them, while at the same time, synergies have been realized with others agencies to better serve them. Also, the increase in their responsibilities over time and the need to support the Center’s employees through training and supervision were discussed, on the one hand to better serve the citizens, and on the other hand, to lighten the burden of their work. In addition, we talked about the increase in social difficulties as well as single parenthood, while special emphasis was placed on a more “devastated” category, that of estranged spouses. In addition, there is a lack of structures in the Cyclades in general, not only for the elderly, but also for people with disabilities or difficulties of all ages.


We talked with the Deputy Mayor, among other things, about the necessity of the balanced development of all sectors of the economy since tourism is linked to local production as well as the preservation of the character of the island. Furthermore, the issue of creating accommodation and guesthouses for the municipal employees who come to the island to work was raised, while he also informed us about the existence of a building for the homeless in the Municipality of Naxos. In addition, he spoke to us about his vision related to the creation of a Structure for people with disabilities either in Naxos or in another Municipality of the Cyclades. The aim of this Structure will be to enable these people to live with dignity and care, in the event that their previous carer is no longer able to care for them.


On Tuesday, July 4, an online interview was held with the Head of the Autonomous Department of Social Welfare, Education and Culture of the Municipality of Naxos, who referred to the challenges facing the department, such as understaffing, the current lack of a social worker as well as the fact that social services should be co-located to better serve citizens. Afterwards, she referred to the difficulties faced by the general population due to high prices and the increase of utility bills, while it was emphasized that everyone can potentially find themselves in a difficult position. In addition, we discussed the question of the interconnection between education and economic vulnerability as deprivation has long-term consequences, affecting every aspect of the lives of individuals and especially children.


The beneficiaries of social allowances that were interviewed talked to us about cutbacks in food and essentials due to high prices, seasonal work and shortages of medical care to the point where they have to travel to receive the services they need.


The Social Inclusion Observatory would like to warmly thank the Community Center and the Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades as well as all the participants in the survey.


(Text and photo: Konstantina Kourkoumari)