Another team work in which we are proud to contribute successfully so that a Social Economy Institution can overcome a difficult moment and continue to fulfill its social function, something so important in the times in which we live.
Institution that accumulated a debt of five million, but will keep jobs after having approved “the first Special Revitalization Plan for the sector” in Portugal, explains the management.
The Vila Franca de Xira Child Welfare Association (ABEI) is the first Portuguese private social solidarity institution (IPSS) to obtain approval for a Special Revitalization Process (PER) that, under the law, will allow it restructure services and remedy a debt that reached five million euros. PER was approved this week with 94 percent favorable votes from around 40 creditors, including several banking entities.
Founded in May 1975, ABEI is one of the largest social institutions in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira, with more than 700 users in areas as diverse as childcare (daycare and pre-school), care for children at risk and long-term care unit (seniors). It employs around 230 people, but for more than a decade it has been experiencing serious financial difficulties, which have worsened in recent years. The growth strategy, which led to the creation of seven different pieces of equipment, and the construction of its continuous care unit - and which required an investment much higher than expected due to legislative changes - contributed to ABEI's financial difficulties.
Now, the institution's management emphasizes the importance of this decision taken by most of the creditors, stressing that, with the approval of this viability plan, ABEI assumes itself as “the first IPSS in the country to take advantage of the mechanism for the settlement of its debts through of PER - Special Revitalization Process ”. “With an accumulated debt that amounts to five million euros, ABEI resorted to tools normally used in the management of top companies in order to make their future viable, guaranteeing the continuity of the provision of services to the community and jobs”, underline those responsible.
“We knew from the beginning that the situation was not easy, so we faced it with the necessary realism, taking measures that would clear up the economic and financial situation in the short term and - in the medium to long term - endow the institution with modern and sustainable, ”says Miguel Branco, chairman of ABEI's management since January 2019.“ The responsibility is enormous, given that it affects the lives of many families, but ABEI's potential and the quality of the plan presented allowed it to be okay. We achieved this first victory by keeping all employees with us ”, stresses Miguel Branco. “It is with the help of them and all the families that trust our work, that we move on to the second stage: putting the plan into practice, making ABEI sustainable so that it breathes vitality for many more decades”, he adds.
This entire process of preparing and discussing the PER took about a year and a half and the revitalization process received a large majority of creditors' support. Miguel Branco stresses that “this good news”, reached at a particularly difficult stage for the IPSS's due to the pandemic, “comes in time for changes to be made to the institution's management model according to what is expected to become the necessary changes to the new reality brought about by the covid-19 ”.
In this sense, the president of ABEI said that “the challenge also involves expanding the response to more families within the community, namely with the provision of new services, some in partnership with the Vila Franca de Xira Chamber (school meals and extensions - “Full-time school” project, etc.) ”.
ABEI also intends to requalify and monetize some equipment that is vacant. “ABEI went through this whole process without making redundancies, maintaining strict hygiene and safety measures when the children return to the institution after the deflation and keeping the Health Unit (Continuous Care) free from any case of contamination”, concludes Miguel Branco .
Source: Jornal Público