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A holiday village for pensioners from Northern Europe is wanted

21 March 2014 / 20:03:20  GRReporter
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Over the past 15 years, English men and women, aged between 40 and 50, who had visited Kefalonia during their summer holidays, have moved their permanent residence and created their own "village" on the Ionian island.

"The first man to build a house had been coming to the island on holiday over the previous 2-3 years. He liked it and decided to build his own house," says structural engineer and real estate agent Nikolaos Mesaris for the Greek To Vima newspaper. Over the past 15 years, he has built over 40 houses for foreigners in different areas of the island.

Initially, not many people wanted to have a house there but gradually the "new" residents of Kefalonia started sharing this idea with friends and relatives in England and the new construction started. "I would say that the number of houses is exponentially growing. The majority of the people live six months in Kefalonia and six months in the UK. Of course, some of the houses are used as villas by all family members," he states. So far, only two families have returned to England after a 10-year stay in Kefalonia, primarily because of the age of the couples.

The sun, sea and relaxing atmosphere are the main things that attract the English men and women to Kefalonia. The sunny days and the warm, azure waters, the greenery and the Mediterranean climate are the main reasons for Greece's position among the most popular tourist destinations.

Driven by the interest on the part of people from Northern Europe to permanently settle in Greece, a group of young entrepreneurs and students from Thessaloniki called ThessaloWiki and the groups ICLS (Rome) and ProWork Portugal are designing the development of a village in Greece where mainly pensioners from Northern Europe can live. It will be constructed by unemployed young people from Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

At present, the group of volunteers from Thessaloniki involves six young architects, engineers and economists. They triggered the initiative six months ago, but have not found where to build the village. The group is glad that, during the first manifestation of the initiative, about 20 young people have expressed their willingness to participate in it.

ProWork initiative is a joint idea of young people from Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, which aims to connect them to each other and to take action against youth unemployment. They intend to create new villages or to renovate abandoned ones, where pensioners from Northern Europe will be able to permanently settle or spend several months a year in the sunny countries of Southern Europe.

The group of volunteers has undertaken to find and capture, using different methods, abandoned houses or villages in Greece that meet certain criteria and are located near the sea, a hospital and airport.

The next stage will be the promotion of the specific areas in order to attract the attention of potential candidates to buy or rent a house in Greece. When they move in, young people from the four countries of Southern Europe will provide additional services for them.

The initiative was announced in Thessaloniki, within the context of "Thessaloniki - European Youth Capital 2014," under the auspices of Mayor Yiannis Boutaris. Interested young people may apply online via the social network Facebook.

Tags: SocietyYouthInitiativePensioners from Northern EuropeSouthern EuropeVillagesProWork
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