Since then, the cooperative has been providing support for children and young people with special educational needs in a regular school context, offering psychological and social help, speech therapy and psychomotor support for family members, as well as dedicated classes for personal and social enrichment.
It also provides vocational training for young people who, due to their specific needs, have difficulties in finding or maintaining a job; it facilitates access to new information and communication technologies via computer literacy courses and provides support activities for preventing the risk of drug addiction.
The cooperative has 187 members, 37 of which are worker members. The other members are the cooperative's users and their relatives, as well as people from the local community who have an interest in CERCINA's activity and mission.
During the General Assembly that takes place twice a year, members are called upon to take part in the decision-making process.
As an open door organization, everyone can be a member of CERCINA, with similar rights and obligations. “Democracy, equality amongst peers, solidarity and community proximity are the values that make a cooperative distinguishable from a traditional enterprise”, explains Joaquim Pequicho, President of the cooperative.
CERCINA’s success lies in their work within the community, through the development of local partnerships and investment in innovative approaches to raise awareness about the abilities of people with physical, mental, social and economic disadvantages.
Among the many activities organized by the cooperative in the community of Nazaré, one that stands out for being quite unusual is Rádio Nazaré, a regional, mainstream radio station broadcasting daily to an audience of 100,000 inhabitants, which is managed by three CERCINA employees. The Radio offers a space to CERCINA's members who can choose songs to play on the radio.
During the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the radio is playing an important role as a public service agent, providing credible news and general information about the pandemic and its consequences in terms of public health and economic impact, and also as a friendly companion for the elderly or the digitally excluded, thereby helping to combat social isolation.
CERCINA is affiliated to CONFECOOP, the national federation of cooperatives in various sectors. CONFECOOP has been a member of CECOP since 1996.