Settlement work is based on the belief that communities give people strength. What we do encompasses all aspects of life, and we make the ideals of equality and communality real in practical ways. For people of all ages, we create opportunities for improved ways of surviving, for refreshment, and for living whole lives. We develop activities in community centres, and build both supported and communal forms of housing. Through our colleges, study groups and education schools, we make people’s lives richer and success more likely.
We support both new Finns as they integrate, and native Finns as they adjust to life in multicultural Finland. For people in difficult life situations we offer crisis support, substance abuse rehabilitation, debt counselling, mediating and victims support services. Based on local needs, we conduct operations jointly with volunteer workers and professionals, with and among people, in Finland and around the world.
“When someone cares, something new begins to sprout in people.” – Pentti Lemmetyinen, Chief Executive Officer
The settlement movement and the Finnish Federation of Settlement Houses
Founded in 1918, the Finnish Federation of Settlement Houses (FFSH) is a life course organisation that consists of 45 settlements located all over Finland. The settlement movement employs more than 5600 professionals and a large group of volunteers is also involved in settlement work.
Our activities include working with the elderly, child and youth work, multicultural work, the development and production of communal forms of housing, different forms of supported housing, community centre activity, providing services for people facing mental challenges, supplying education to 16 community colleges, three folk high schools and two special education schools, various forms of trauma and crisis work, substance abuse rehabilitation services, debt counselling, mediating and victim support.
The basis for settlement operations was established in community centres founded in the poorest quarters of east London at the end of the 19th century. They influenced their surrounding communities by developing and maintaining interactive social and educational work. Each community centre offered both training and support for people struggling with social problems.
The ideology of the settlement movement is based on the empowering effect of community. Both individuality and diversity are highly valued in everything we do.
The work of FFSH and its member organisations is made possible through service charges from the provision of wellbeing services, by support from Veikkaus ( a gaming company owned by the Finnish state), earmarked subsidies from ministries and donations from private individuals. Our activities are non-profit.