Skip to content
Photo: Åsa Svedjeholm
Linda Olofsson, Lulea diocese and researcher Malin Lindberg will together make social innovation in the church possible. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Social innovations in church support unemployed

Published: 4 February 2016

How social innovations in the Swedish Church will be developed, for example to support the long-term unemployed and immigrants who have had difficulty entering the labor market, is examined in a collaborative project between researchers at Luleå University of Technology and the Swedish church.

Swedish Church's role in society changed. The national project “More than a job” is one example of that. In the project church collaborates with employment services. The aim is to support the long-term unemployed in their efforts to get a job. In a project called Greenhouse in Skellefteå parish, unemployed and long-term sick are involved in a green house project where they are hired to power up plants for cemeteries and burials. The goal is to meet the churchs growing demand of annual plants.There are also plans to manufacture ecological urns of birch bark.

Linda Olofsson, Lulea diocese, working together with Luleå researcher Malin Lindberg in a new project to identify and promote the development of social innovations to create internships, vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities in Swedish Church for vulnerable groups.

– The church has been relatively isolated from society but today co-operation, for example, with researchers and different organizations outside the church, is more important than in the past, she says. The need for integration of new Swedes in the labor market is growing. In that context it will be interesting for the church to work actively to integrate and to work with new partners as employment offices, sports clubs or researchers.

A few years ago a research team at Luleå University of Technology was studying conditions for the development of social innovations in different parts of society. A manual, about social innovations from different perspectives, was developed. Malin Lindberg, Assistant professor at Luleå University leads the new cooperation project with the Swedish church.

– With the help of workshops, interviews and surveys we will look at the church's processes and infrastructure that can support social innovation and develop models and tools to suit the Church's specific needs, she says.

The project is funded by the Swedish church and goes on from 2015 to 2016.