On the initiative of the most capable civil society organizations in Vinnytsia, one of the points of the «Program for Promoting the Development of Civil Society Institutions for 2015-2017» was the establishment of an incubator for NGOs. The idea was to equip a place where city associations, initiatives and activists could communicate, interact, enhance their competencies and capabilities.
Active NGOs together with the city council started implementing the idea, so an active search for the premises began. At the same time, the most active CSOs of the city took on the development of a conceptual vision of the «Sociohub». It was soon determined that such a space for interaction could be a building - an old mansion at 11 Pushkin Street, located near the city council`s premises. This was meant to promote the active involvement of Vinnitsa City Council staff and departments in public discussions.
The city council has allocated the premises and transferred it to the balance sheet of the Municipal Enterprise «Institute for Urban Development», which in turn became the customer of design and estimate documentation for carrying out repair and restoration works. The design of nearly 220-square-meter space was developed together with NGOs, which expressed a number of wishes that were considered. In addition, at the 2016 «Points of Engagement» forum, the idea of «Sociohub» found support among 50 other public associations in the city.
Carrying out of repair and restoration works in the future hub, the cost of which amounted to about 2.2 million UAH given from the city budget of Vinnytsia. Also, about 800 thousand UAH were allocated for purchasing furniture and media equipment: 120 chairs, mobile tables, 4 projectors and screens, plasma TVs, etc. In addition, a 4-person Civil Society Development Division within the structure of ME «Institute for Urban Development» was set up to administer the premises, as well as facilitate dialogue between the authorities and the community.
The hub has opened its doors to CSOs, government officials and active residents of the city. In total, over 365 events were held free of charge in 2018.
With the active involvement of NGO representatives, the «Insightful City: Communication And Participation Space» project was granted with funding from the Clobal Affairs Canada through «Partnership for Local Economic Development and Democratic Governance Project», the technical assistance project implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. During active discussions the idea of the hub was transformed into the concept of partnership between the authorities and the active community and was called «City of Content». More than two dozen strategic sessions and working groups were conducted to create the Strategy for the Development of the Partnership between the local government and the community, the development of a brand-book and the communication strategy, and the formation of the business model of the hub.
An important milestone in 2018 was the founding of Civil Society Organizations Association «City of Content», which united 29 CSOs in Vinnytsia, and has now increased to 33.