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Accessible information enhances children’s participation in community life

Understanding what children and young people are interested in supports both effective community engagement and long-term service planning. Regular and accessible information to parents and to children may just be what is needed and necessary to achieve the children’s engagement.   

“Children and families should take part in cultural and recreational activities organized by their city,” said Birgit Kollek from the children’s information center ‘wienXtra’ in Vienna. But to get the whole community involved in programs and activities organized by a city, families and children need to be well informed about the type of activities that are available to them.

Advancing children’s participation in city activities

Austrian children and families visit wienXtra, which is is an information centre, that organizes leisure activities for children and families living in Vienna, the capital of Austria. The children’s information center was founded in 2001 and is opened during the day with the exception of Mondays.

The center is situated in the MuseumsQuartier Vienna4, a complex of museums and other cultural facilities surrounded by traffic-free courtyards. The MuseumsQuartier is close to the city-centre as well as within walking distance to one of the main shopping streets of Vienna. It can be easily reached by public transport. The busiest times are spring and summer as they are the most popular recreation months for local families.

Ways of finding out

The center provides information to help parents better meet the needs of their children. The families can find the information in brochures, programs, leaflets, magazines, which list all the different type of activities organized in the city and are also available for taking away. The kinderinfo-brochure “fine&free”, which lists recreational activities for free are extremely popular. They also have computer facilities as well as copying machines.

The visitors can also use the personal assitance service should they seek information or advice on topics that they are interested in.

The center provides information to help parents better meet the needs of their children.

“Visitors are mainly interested in cultural programs held in museums and theaters but also leisure and sport activities, playgrounds, family-friendly restaurants, nature, camping sites, and language schools,” explained Birgit Kollek from the wienXtra-kinderinfo.

“We also have phone, email and online services and information can be also posted to the home address as requested. The team also organizes events, workshops, lectures, press conferences and networking events at the venue.”

The website contains a large amount of information on various topics and it all can be downloaded. It has a calendar, which helps families and children find events organized by the center. It also provides an overview of culture events for kids in Vienna.

“Once a month our subscribers receive a newsletter with the most updated cultural activities that are organized for children and their families.”

“We aim to make our programs accessible to all citizens including the children. We provide opportunities to allow children and youth to fully engage in community life, which is beneficial to all.” concluded Kollek.

Author: Marketa Vesela

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