Preserving life quality in rural areas


EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2015. The demographic trend of an ever increasing number of over 50 year-olds coupled with a simultaneous "brain drain" of younger people is an increasing problem in many rural areas in Europe. This was a starting point for Vitalise project, one of the nominees for the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2015.

The article series spreads good practices by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award.

Vitalise project (2011–2013), competing in the European category of the Award, addressed the problem of how to maintain the social, economic and cultural environment of rural areas in regions where there is an ageing yet at the same time a decreasing population.

It examined what can older citizens, who want to stay in their place of residence do to find a worthwhile, remunerative or voluntary employment.

Reactivating the idling resources

The basic idea of the project was to revitalize the region for example by reviving old trades and services thereby creating opportunities for paid and voluntary work for senior citizens.

Examples for activities include turning an old, disused village hall or church into a cultural centre with café, exhibitions and a rich cultural programme. An old sports ground could be re-developed or the local cultural heritage researched and made accessible to visitors and tourists.

Vitalise Project

Project coordinator:
Bildungshaus Zeppelin – Heimvolkshochschule Goslar (Germany), Martin Westphal


  • Akadémia vzdelávania Čadca (Slovakia)
  • Federazione Trentina della Cooperazione (Italy)
  • Fundación PAIDEIA Galiza (Spain)
  • Järva County Vocational Centre (Estonia)
  • Obrtnicko uciliste-ustanova za obrazovanje odrashlih (Croatia)
  • Europahaus Burgenland (Austria)
  • Magyar Népföiskolai Társaság (Hungary)

Project website
Project Manual

Every year, EAEA hands out the EAEA Grundtvig Award to successful projects in adult education. In 2015, three projects were awarded with a prize: an international, a European and a national initiative. The theme of this year’s award was Adult Education and Health.