Raudanmaa is a rural area with some 600 inhabitants, which consists of several small hamlets and houses surrounded by beautiful lakeside nature, woods, and fields. People live very close to nature which is a great asset that our village can offer both to new residents and visitors. Our main aspiration is to be a service-oriented, innovative village where daily life runs smoothly. We want to bring new, innovative enablers in order to boost the village economy and living conditions.
We are proud of our local community which is very active and supportive of new initiatives. We have several associations organising activities and enabling dynamic communal lifestyle enjoyed by the villagers. We organise regular gatherings on matters that concern everyone and share news and issues of interest on social media.
We have built our own water supply, sewage system and optical fibre network. Telecommuting is everyday life for us, keeping the many entrepreneurs and modern farms connected to the world. Working fibre optic network connections also enable students and school children to participate in remote sessions that have become the norm during occasional lockdowns.
One of our main initiatives now is to create a well-functioning smart village hall that provides activities and multiple services to local residents and visitors. We gathered opinions and ideas from all the villagers, found inspiration in other villages’ solutions, and worked with partner companies to develop a plan for the village hall. Currently, we are working in thematic working groups on detailed plans on the renovation, functioning and sustainability of our hall and expect to start many new activities in the spring of 2021.
Village strategy :
Christmas in Raudanmaa
With Christmas around the corner, Raudanmaa festive activities are in full speed: the Pikkupiha has Christmas lighting and an activity route with elves; ice-skaters and visitors of the ice rink are served hot cocoa in a cosy café; a Christmas market offered hand-made items such as candles, woollen socks and mittens, as well as Christmas porridge, bread and cakes.
Soon, it will be time to take a Christmas break and plan for an even more fun 2022. On the agenda for early 2022: our LEADER funding for a bigger renovation of the village hall building and a yearly plan for village hall activities. Wish you a Merry Christmas from Raudanmaa!
Voluntary work at the heart of village activity
Thousands of hours of voluntary work have realised the dreams we have in Raudanmaa: to keep the village active and a pleasant place to live and work in. Voluntary work in the village is carried out by dozens of people, aged from 5 to 75 years. This year, Raudanmaa locals have:
- done inside renovation and facility set-up in the village hall, fully built the Nearby Farm, a parking lot, yard green area, moved the ice-rink, cleaned the village hall repeatedly, and moved large amounts of equipment;
- boost the village marketing through a new Facebook page which grew to over 800 followers in only a year and succeeded to build a positive village brand – with getting a few interested people to ask for houses to rent and buy.
A busy autumn for Raudanmaa
The village launched a cooperation project with the Tyrsky educational community involving nine different SASKY vocational schools. The purpose is to plan inspiring work practice opportunities and projects for several students or groups of students for 2022 in Raudanmaa co-operative activities.
In September, Raudanmaa representatives visited Slovenia as part of Smart Village 21 event “Smart Villages for a digital, green and resilient Europe”, presenting the smart solutions used in Raudanmaa. Lots of ideas bubbling still up for next year…
Raudanmaa village hall buzzing with activity
The autumn of 2021 saw the new Raudanmaa hall busy, as many entrepreneurs started renting out the pop-up working facilities, including physiotherapists, hairdressers, foot-care, and various classes: physical exercise and cooking, organised by both public and private operators. Clubs and meetings are also hosted at the hall, such as a club for families with small children, Raudanmaa Friday lunch get-together, youngsters’ Friday movie club, etc.
The brand new gym, also hosted at the hall, was launched in September with recycled but well-functioning training equipment. All the reservations for the gym, meeting rooms and working spaces are done via an automated reservation system via SMS door codes.
Raudanmaa’s Nearby Farm – summer hit
The Raudanmaa village hall activities kicked off significantly with the opening of the Nearby Farm – Lastenmaatila Pikkupiha – for the public in June 2021. The farm saw over 2 000 visitors during the summer, who enjoyed interacting with miniature horses, ducks, hens, rabbits, Finnish sheep, goats, as well as the more exotic llamas and alpaca.
The farm curators set up additional attractions, including morning feeding sessions, sheep walks, horse agility and VIP visit for those with physical restrictions. Opening a village cafeteria created three jobs: two in the cafeteria and one for a caretaker, as well as several two-week work opportunities for youngsters keeping summer camps and helping out with farm activities, the latter thanks to a local bank’s contribution.
Smart booking system for new Raudanmaa village hall
Raudanmaa is setting up a digital reservation system for its smart village hall, based on flexible, easy and safe use. The system will allow for the village hall gym, working spaces and meeting rooms to be reserved and paid via a digital reservation calendar. The system further connects to electronic locks that can be accessed by users’ smart phones.
The system provides for additional security by enabling a centralised monitoring of the hall entrances and remote opening of the doors in case a user has forgotten to bring their key or code.
‘Nearby farm’ project kicks off in summer 2021
Raudanmaa is preparing to kick off a ‘Nearby farm’ project for children in summer 2021, thanks to benchmark material provided by the Smart Rural 21 project and feedback from project partner Innovatiesteunpunt. The initiative is inspired by educational and therapeutic farms in Belgium and intends to provide opportunities for small groups and families from nearby cities to enjoy activities with the animals.
What could be better than hugging a miniature horse or feeding little chicks? Learning empathy, responsibility and showing love and affection comes naturally when interacting with animals.
Raudanmaa develops a village communication plan
Raudanmaa – ‘Iron land’ – has a brand new communication plan, including a new village logo and enhanced web and social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Many village residents are participating in this increased communication as volunteers, which is already bringing in results with requests for houses to rent or sale.
The village aims to capitalise on and communicate better around its existing reputation of a warm and welcoming rural area.
A new co-operative to carry on with village development
Raudanmaa set up the ‘Raudanmaa Village Co-operative’ in the end of 2020 to purchase and renovate the old school building and carry on with the planning of the smart village hall activities. The new co-operative is the latest of a strong heritage of communal co-operatives, including the water co-operative which organises the village’s water and sewage network, and the optical fibre co-operative (see video below).
Raudanmaa moves to strengthen rural voices at municipal level
A common ‘village programme’ intended to give visibility to goals for village and rural area development was initiated by Raudanmaa and will be set up by several village areas within the local municipality. This move aims to strengthen the voice of rural areas in municipal decision making. Electoral candidates can then take a stand to defend these goals if they consider them important for the viability of the whole municipality.
Raudanmaa volunteers enable active lifestyle
The winter of 2021 saw group activities, such as the village Christmas concert and traditional winter events, cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, but Raudanmaa volunteers supported residents’ active lifestyle by freezing the ice rink and maintaining ski trails for everyone to use.
The intention is to carry on with such activities throughout the year, with agility jumps envisioned for dog lovers in the spring and the new swimming pier of the communal beach in the summer. The various village associations, together with the communal adult education centre, have organised numerous music and exercise groups, cooking classes, photography and various other subjects according to local demand.
Raudanmaa gains publicity for success in national competition
Raudanmaa came in the top 5 villages in the national competition ‘The smartest village in Finland’, organised by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in 2019-2020. This success rightfully gained it national publicity and acclaim with visits from the Ministry and the Finnish Village Association. It got covered in the Finnish Public Service Media Company news and many newspapers.
What is ‘smart’ about the Raudanmaa village hall?
The Raudanmaa village hall is being conceived to offer a range of local services to cover a wide customer base, including a gym hall with additional hobby spaces for locals, a cafeteria, remote working spaces, and meeting spaces. Additionally, a ‘nearby farm’ concept will be introduced, providing an opportunity for a planned virtual afternoon care club for school children, where they can follow the daily care of the animals.
By ensuring a wide array of uses of the hall, a feasible business will be created that will keep it functioning and will cover all maintenance costs.
Raudanmaa progresses concept and business plan for smart village hall
The concept and business plan for a Raudanmaa smart village hall have now been developed, inspired by the ‘The smartest village in Finland’ competition, organised by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Thanks to this competition, Raudanmaa managed to both find a good partner and some financial support to get a focused and easy-to-understand concept in place.
From this point on and considering that the related communication material is already prepared, it is easier to start discussions with potential partners.
Raudanmaa annual culture week for children
The traditional Raudanmaa culture week for children did take place in June 2020 thanks to the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. The culture week is a series of workshops and events during which children aged 5 to 12 can get together to learn and spend time with young and older instructors from the area.
The 2020 sessions included cooking, music, hobby horses, fishing, sup boarding, and a tent sauna on the beach. The culture week offers employment opportunities for youngsters and a chance for children to learn from the village elders some traditional skills and pastime activities.
Watch the video below to get a flavour!
Smart Rural Journey
Follow along with our Village Roadmap here :
Raudanmaa received support for the development of its old school building into a community centre (and small demonstration farm), including for the elaboration of the architectural plans of the building, as well as expert support for identifying similar demonstration farm business models.
Step 1/4 : Inspirational children’s farm cases selected from identified examples
At the start of the project, the specialist expert identified and presented 13 relevant and inspiring children/ community farm cases to Raudanmaa. After further considerations, Raudanmaa selected the most relevant cases in their own context that they would like to learn more about.
Step 2/4 : Detailed case studies of the selected children’s farms cases
Out of the cases presented three were selected by Raudanmaa: Talaart Care Farm, The Seven Towers Children’s Farm, Ostrich Nest Farm. The SR21 expert has prepared detailed case studies about these cases and their business models through direct contact and interviews with the farm owners / managers
Step 3/4 : Architectural plan for the community center
A local architect has been contracted to examine the studies on the conditions of the school building structures; analyse the structure and make a list of the structural renovation needs. The architect has prepared a renovation plan, and a cost estimate of each part of the plan, including a 3D image
Step 4/4 : Children’s Farm launched next to the community center
The Children’s Farm Pikkupiha is now up and running with many visitors: 200 kids on fieldtrip in May 2021, 2000 visitors during July to mid-August 2021.
3rd Smart Communities Café, Raudanmaa (Finland), 3 February 2021
During the 3rd Smart Rural Communities’ Café, hosted by Raudanmaa (Finland), Heini Niklas-Salminen was talking about their village cooperative (including the optical fibre network), their smart village hall (multi-service centre) plans, as well as related community farm concept and village services (including innovative digital solutions).
Village development in Raudanmaa
Raudanmaa’s smart strategy and its key principles are: to ensure smooth services; reinforce a sense of community; and preserve a clean countryside. The village is also busy implementing projects: a fibre optic network (already implemented successfully) and a smart village hall with various services and business opportunities (currently in the making).
Raudanmaa optical fibre network project in Finland
The project built up a comprehensive telecommunications network from optical fibre in the Raudanmaa village area to support existing businesses in the region, enable the emergence of new ones, and improve residents’ access to both public and private services. It is one of the highlighted ‘smart solutions’ of the Smart Rural 21 project.
Our Raudanmaa – why youngsters love life in the countryside
Get a flavour of the traditional Raudanmaa culture week for children, aged 5 to 12, who get together to enjoy and learn from a series of workshops and events, including cooking, music, hobby horses, fishing, sup boarding, and more.