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Friday, September 24, 2021

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An open letter from the Friends of the Point

The point has been operated in Akureyri since 1994 when it was established as a comprehensive handicraft workshop for unemployed people. Its role has evolved and the activities of the service have increased significantly in these almost 30 years. The activity has especially flourished in the last 15 years that Punkturinn has been operating in Rósenborg. Today, Punkturinn is open to anyone who wants to come there. It still plays an important role for the unemployed but also for people in vocational rehabilitation under the auspices of Virk and for the users of Grófarinn, which is a free resource for people who struggle with mental health problems. In addition, there has been a strong children and youth work in Punktinn. Therefore, Punkturinn has a very important place in maintaining diverse and different leisure activities in Akureyri and gives people the opportunity to expand their creative joy.

For the past two years, elected representatives in Akureyri have created great uncertainty about the future of the Point. The discussion has been about moving the operations to premises that can only accommodate a small fraction of the work that is currently being carried out in Rósenborg. Decisions have been made without consulting the users and staff of the Point. Little analytical work has been done and preparation for decision-making has not been done in a professional manner. The discussion has created a lot of insecurity, hopelessness and uncertainty among users.

Last week there was another announcement that the Point should be closed. This decision was once again not made in consultation with users or staff, despite repeated promises of improved working methods from elected representatives.

In these uncertain times that have arisen in society over the past year there has never been a greater need for a job like the one run at Punktinn. This work fights against the social isolation of vulnerable groups in society, including people who have lost their livelihoods and people who are struggling with social problems and illness of some kind. In addition to being a place that is open to everyone regardless of class, status and age. It is our wish and hope that the Point will have a permanent place in the sports and leisure activities available in Akureyri, that there will be further development and strengthening of the Point’s work in Rósenborg to counteract the aftermath of the epidemic on the health and well-being of Akureyri, to play the role he has played for decades. In order for the work to have a basis for growth, it is necessary to ensure security in housing matters, that the housing is suitable for the work that is carried out there, and also to show users and employees fairness and respect.

We therefore send with a call to elected representatives, the residents of Akureyri, and all those who have used the Point or have relatives who have used the Point to make themselves heard. The job affects us all. The group that comes together and works in Punktinn does not have a common forum and therefore it is important that the residents protect this important service for the benefit of us all.

Authors are loyal friends of the Point:

Guðrún Margrét Jónsdóttir, Barbara Hjartardóttir, Halldóra Kristjánsdóttir Larsen, Oddný Kristjánsdóttir and Þuríður Helga Kristjánsdóttir

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