The village pays the family rent in exchange for the presence of social media

Many small municipalities in Finland have a bleak future due to declining population and migration to large cities. However, one small municipality is trying to harness the power of social media to combat this trend.

Earlier this year, Luumäki said he was looking for a family that would sing the municipality’s praise on social media. City selected Sami Sivonen and Laura Kirettihis family for a 12-month project that included doing weekly assignments.

"We felt that this was far from enough to keep followers interested," Sivonen told Yle.

The family said they quickly realized it took a long time to make live postings. For this reason, they decided to collect material during the day and send their mailings later.

"If we’re at an amusement park, you’ll miss the moment when you have to start thinking about pictures and GIFs for videos," Sivonen told about his decision.

At the beginning of this year, the family still lived in Pirkkala, Pirkanmaa, and was considering moving. After seeing the article about Luumäki’s social media project, the couple applied by making a video of themselves.

Neither had a job in the area, but they decided to take it anyway.

In Luumäki, we moved to a newly renovated 75 m2 three-room terraced house with a sauna in Jurvala.

However, Covid restrictions had closed many places in the area in the first few months.

"We are now happy to see that we receive invitations to various events, but while we don’t, we just show up with a reporting mindset," Kiretti said.

Living in the countryside means driving

Both parents eventually found work, even though it has meant long commutes to Sivonen, who works within a 100-kilometer radius of Luumäki.

"When you drive a lot, you end up spending a surprising amount of money on gas and diesel. I’m surprised this didn’t come to my mind before," he explained.

Now about six months since the project started, Home in Luumäki he has more than 1,400 followers on Instagram and 700 on Facebook, and the family becomes small local celebrities.

The municipality told Yle that it has been satisfied with the visibility it has received so far and said that it has also received positive feedback on trying the new one.

Erik Forstén, Luumäki ‘s technical director told Yle that the family’ s messages all come from his own experiences and observations.

More people have moved to the area this year, but this phenomenon is most likely due to the fact that people have changed urban life to the countryside during the coronavirus. Veera Heikkilä, who works for Luumäki Housing Limited Liability Company.

Kiretti said it is unlikely that the family stations would have already increased the need for housing in the area.

"This is just a great place to live," he said.

The family said they appreciated the closeness to nature.

"It is a fact that you can step out of your home and see the trees and the lake. This feels like a much more comfortable living environment than the suburb of the city where we lived before," Sivonen said.

The family said they plan to take root in Luumäki after a year of free housing. Their six-year-old preschooler, Hugo, it is planned to start the first class in Luumäki next autumn.

Source: The Nordic Page





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