Visit Turku wishes to convey their value of responsibility to the thousands of annual convention visitors brought to the city by scientific events and seminars. The delegate bags given to participants were previously ordered from abroad, but now the cloth bags are sewn at Turku City Employment Services Centre’s Valmennuspiste, which rehabilitates and supports people with their employment goals.
‘The delegate bags are an action of sustainable development and a sign of Visit Turku’s social responsibility. We are also doing this to take part in the Carbon Neutral Turku 2029 project to combat climate change,’ says Anne-Marget Hellén, director of tourism at Visit Turku.
Turku has been one of Finland’s leading convention cities for 15 years. There are 50–80 international scientific conventions in Turku each year, the hosts of which receive free help in the planning and preparation phase from the Turku Convention Bureau of the City of Turku and Visit Turku. The delegate bags are a useful and colourful souvenir of the participants’ visit to Turku.
‘The cotton bags are sewn from surplus or recycled fabrics, which makes them colourful and diverse – individuals, just like the people of Turku,’ smiles Sari Ruusumo, convention manager at Visit Turku.
‘The first locally made cloth bags are distributed in the ESEB2019 congress on evolutionary biology, carried out at Logomo by academy professor Craig Primmer from the University of Helsinki in cooperation with the University of Turku. The congress is expected to be attended by 1,300 delegates,’ Ruusumo continues.
The sewing of thousands of delegate bags is a large but pleasing endeavour for Valmennuspiste, which is a low-threshold workplace and a stepping stone to working life for many.
‘We started the sewing in the spring. The delegate bags have an important effect on employment, because Valmennuspiste offers rehabilitative work activities which require tasks of a suitable level. The workers find it motivating that the commission is for a good cause,’ says Ritva Rautiainen-Laakso, supervisor at the sewing workshop of Valmennuspiste.
‘The bag is also an environmentally sustainable choice, because it is made as far as possible with recycled materials like old sheets and curtains,’ Rautiainen-Laakso highlights.
Sari Ruusumo, Convention Manager, Visit Turku
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Ritva Rautiainen-Laakso, Textile Department Supervisor, Valmennuspiste, City of Turku
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