Cardiff – Elderly keep exercising

Cardiff Council’s Exercise Referral Team is helping some of the city’s older residents with medical conditions ranging from cardiac conditions to high blood pressure to get the exercise they need. The team has provided more than 1000 clients with tailored home exercise programmes and weekly video routines. Clients report that the videos help them with their mental and emotional health too.

Contact: Beverley Watson

Istanbul – Feeding stray cats and dogs

The district municipality in Sultanbeyli, Istanbul, is feeding stray animals during the corona lockdown. While shops are closed, the local veterinary service units leave animal food at central places. In Istanbul, there are thought to be 130,000 dogs and 125,000 cats roaming free. Other measures of the municipality aim to prevent the spread of the virus in public places like bazaars and to support people in need.

Continue reading “Istanbul – Feeding stray cats and dogs”

Dusseldorf – Priority badge for nurses

Health workers, bus drivers, volunteers for social services and others working in relevant functional areas in Dusseldorf can get free use of public transport and taxis as well as permission to buy bigger amounts of foods and goods than stated in the regulations against panic buying. The city is handing out badges to those people, based on registration via employers. Read more here (in German)

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Cardiff – Fostering scheme for dogs in need

Cardiff Dogs Home is operating a re-homing procedure which aims to find the best possible home for each dog in their care and to keep the number of people at the Dogs Home to a minimum. Hundreds of people already expressed an interest in being a temporary dog carer, potentially becoming a permanent owner. Read more here.

Contact: Beverley Watson

Madrid – Find services in your neighbourhood

People in Madrid can search for shops and delivery services as well as for help from different organisations in their area by using a new digital district map. The initiative ‘Compartimos barrio’, ‘We share a neighbourhood’, has been launched by the city council to make trade and essential services visible during the COVID-19, operational in each district. It aims to supply people who for various reasons cannot go out on the streets or cannot cope alone with the confined situation. You can find the district map and read more here (in Spanish)

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Ghent – 25 million to overcome the corona crisis

With a package of short- and long-term measures, the city of Ghent is tackling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A budget of 25 million euro is designated to help the most vulnerable people, economy and civil society. A  ‘Relaunch Taskforce’ shall also see how to revive the city after the crisis by, among others, supporting the tourism sector. You can read more here

Contact: Els Uytterhoeven

Madrid – Sports for the elderly

The City Council launches #SiempreContigo, a service that provides recommendations to the older population to carry out controlled physical activity and check their condition during home confinement. The service is carried out by coaches who call the person to track their emotional and physical condition. Read more (in Spanish) here

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Brussels – Hotels for migrants

Two hotels in Brussels with a combined capacity of 220 spaces have been hosting migrants who do not have access to official or associative housing services. This was an initiative of the regional authorities in Brussels in an effort to help migrants during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here

Contact: Geert de Roep and Antoine Umbrain

Zaragoza – Support for young, old and victims of gender violence

Zaragoza is combating the mental health issues that can emerge among infants and youths from confinement with a team of specialized youth professionals from the municipal services. The service is free and can be reached by phone and e-mail. Read more (in Spanish) here.

The city is also offering support to over-65s with a daily cooked meal to be delivered to their homes in collaboration with non-profit La Caridad. Those interested can register by phone.

Zaragoza is also assisting victims of gender violence through its services at ‘La Casa de la Mujer’ along with a 24-hour emergency telephone number and a campaign so that the neighbors get involved in cases of gender violence, and bring them to the attention of the authorities. More information (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Lorena Calvo

Nice – Childcare for food workers

Nice is extending the childcare which it has been providing for health workers and other providers of necessary services to include the children of those involved in the food industry. The city already organises daycare for the children of many types essential personnel whom the national education system does not provide any service for. Read more (in French) here.

Contact: Jérôme Sieurin

Madrid – Prepaid food cards for families

The Madrid City Council has established public-private partnerships to provide families in need with prepaid cards to buy food and basic necessities in the corona crisis. CaixaBank, through its Social Action and in collaboration with Obra Social La Caixa, has made a grant of €200,000 available to the City Council to assist 2,000 families in a situation of vulnerability. And thanks to the contribution of €100,000 made by the department store group El Corte Inglés through the Ramón Areces Foundation, prepaid cards to 500 families at risk of exclusion and new equipment to the shelters for the homeless can be provided. Through these partnerships, the Madrid City Council is strengthening its Family Emergency Plan to alleviate the effects of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus on the most vulnerable. Read more here and here (in Spanish)

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Dusseldorf – Protection for women and children

With families spending unusually much time together bound in their homes, the incidents of domestic violence have spiked in the past weeks and days. The German city of Dusseldorf has therefore extended its accommodation facilities, shelters and protection services for women and children in need. For people suffering emotionally as a result from the corona restrictions, psychological counselling is offered via telephone hotlines.

Continue reading “Dusseldorf – Protection for women and children”

Gijon – Sports pavilion becomes homeless shelter

Hundred beds for homeless people have been placed in the “Tejerona” Sport Pavilion in Gijon. Red Cross and Civil Protection take care of the people, the city council is in charge of maintance and vigilance. The installation also facilitates the work of other local associations such as “Covadonga Hostel” and “Economic Kitchen”. Read more here (in Spanish)

Contact: Enrique Rodríguez

Leipzig – Hotline for families

To support families in the current situation, the City of Leipzig has set up a phone hotline, available from 8am – 6pm, 7 days a week. Experienced personnel from the fields of childcare, school social work and youth work answer questions ranging from how to keep children occupied to Corona-related rules affecting families. They also provide educational counselling. The goal is to offer low-threshold support to families in a time of restricted social contacts. Read more here

Contact: Christin Rettke

Leipzig – Expanded facilities for homeless people

The City of Leipzig has expanded its facilities for homeless people. Emergency shelters are now open day and night and provide free breakfast, lunch and supper. A new facility with 50 extra places has been set up to answer to the growing demand due to the current exit restrictions. Read more here

Contact: Christin Rettke

Stuttgart – Working with volunteers

A local online market place for Stuttgart based retailers, restaurants and service providers is now available to residents with the support of the city of Stuttgart. The platform was originally developed as a voluntary initiative and is free of charge. The city is also looking to work with volunteers, who have medical qualifications, to support people in shelters that are known to or suspected to have COVID-19. Read more here and here

Contact: Claudia Schulcz

Toulouse – Solidarity platform

Toulouse city and Toulouse Metropole have launched a new online platform, available to all citizens with internet access, which offers mutual assistance to take care of fragile people. Cities are able to publish both requests for help and/or areas in which they are able to help. An already existing service in the city in a 24/7 telephone service and an additional one for senior citizens only. Read more here and here

Contact: Isabelle Durou

Vienna – Overview of measures

Vienna has compiled a summary of measures the city has taken in the coronavirus crisis. They include the areas health and social care, public services, help for the economy, housing and homelessness, arts and culture, communication and citizen engagement as well as a part on ‘life after the crisis’. You can download the document here

Cardiff – Extra homeless provision

Cardiff Council has provided additional accommodation at two city centre hotels for rough sleepers and those living in emergency accommodation to ensure that any individuals with underlying health conditions, or who are showing symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19, will be able to self-isolate.
Residents receive three meals a day and support staff are available around the clock to ensure the provision is safe and appropriate advice and help is always available. Read more here

Contact: Beverley Watson

Nuremberg – Mobile guide for refugees and migrants

Integreat is a mobile guide for refugees and migrants, used by over 60 municipalities in Germany. The contents of the mobile guide, however, are tailored to local needs and contain local information. In response to the current COVID-19 situation, multilingual information has been added to the guide. The aim is to inform and educate all citizens as best as possible – regardless of their mother tongue and background. The mobile guide is for free and for Nuremberg currently available in seven languages (German, English, French, Arabic, Farsi, Russian and Amharic). Read more here

Contact: Siegfried Zelnhefer

Zagreb – Urgent response on two fronts

Despite the recent impacts of an earthquake on 22 March, Zagreb is also preparing its coronavirus response. One public institution, which focusses on the rehabilitation of disabled people, has switched its activities to produce face masks, for example. See more here:

Contact: international.relations@zagreb.hr

Cardiff – Community volunteers

Cardiff residents have responded overwhelmingly to the call from Together For Cardiff which has been launched by Cardiff Council to unlock the volunteering potential across the city during the COVID-19 outbreak. The volunteering portal harnesses community spirit to match people who want to help, with those in need of assistance, in safe and properly-managed way. Read more here

Contact: Beverley Watson

Ljubljana – Free facilities for quarantine

The public institution Šport Ljubljana has offered its Šport hotel at the Gymnastic Centre in Ljubljana to the Slovenian government free of charge for the needs of quarantining Slovenian citizens returning from abroad. The hotel has a capacity of 15 rooms with a total of 38 beds. Following the example of the Ljubljana Castle, which offered its Hostel Celica to the University Medical Centre for the accommodation of its staff, this second public institution has shown solidarity to all hit by the coronavirus epidemic.

Room in Šport hotel Ljubljana. Photo: Šport Ljubljana

Contact: Polona Novak

Nice – Support for the vulnerable

Nice has opened a new reception site for the homeless and updated old ones by adding protection and hygiene measures recommended by the health authorities. Read more (in French) here. The city has also teamed up with nearby cities to launch a regional telephone hotline for psychological support to residents. Read more (in French) here. For those with a prescription, medical workers, or people who are exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus, two drive-through test centres have also been set up. Read more (in French) here.

A special hotline for those with disabilities has also been set up, and an app through which the disabled can get information and ask for help. The city has made available tools like automatic voice transcription and sign language to make sure that everyone can stay up to date on the latest news and advice. Read more (in French) here.

Contact: Jérôme Sieurin

Beşiktaş – Aid to residents

Beşiktaş Municipality has created an online service providing psychological, nutritional and physiotherapy services, as well as family counselling to all residents who have to stay at home. Read more about this service (in Turkish) here.

Support from the municipality is also physical. Beşiktaş, besides its own extensive disinfection procedure, is handing out bags full of necessary hygienic equipment to residents, and is delivering food supplies to residents over 65 years old and to other people in need with the help of local police. The Mayor has joined social welfare workers in preparing the support boxes. Read more about this here.

The municipality is also delivering aid to people with chronic diseases, over 65s, and disabled people who are in social isolation, including hands on medical support and examination, and online medical consultation. Read more (in Turkish) here. To take care of health workers, the city has made student dormitories available to health workers. Read more (in Turkish) here.

Contact: foreignaffairs@besiktas.bel.tr

Sofia – Volunteer Platform

The Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova (in the picture with volunteers), has called on the Bulgarian capital’s citizens to volunteer time and energy to help those at risk – the elderly, people with long-term health problems, socially isolated. For a week, over 100 residents joined as volunteers, serving over 3,000 citizens who need assistance with food deliveries, other shopping, providing medication or a friendly social call. Over 60 local businesses support the volunteer work with donating food and other products. You can read more here (in Bulgarian)

Contact: Sevdalina Voynova

Nice – Tackling domestic violence

Nice has launched several measures to tackle domestic violence during the lock down. These include a telephone hotline and email address for reporting known or suspected cases, an awareness raising campaign, a partnership with pharmacies that welcome female victims of violence, and provision of emergency accommodation for women who wish to leave their homes. Read more (in French) here.

Contact: Jérôme Sieurin

Madrid – Taking out your rubbish

Madrid has joined a campaign that helps older people and those in need to bring out their rubbish. The YoTeAyudoConLaBasura initiative comes from the Rey Juan Carlos University. The city is giving the initiative the maximum possible visibility through social networks. This project seeks to help older people and those who need it in the daily work of disposing of their waste while the state of alarm decreed by the COVID-19 crisis lasts. More information (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Portugal – Temporary citizenship rights for migrants and asylum seekers

In order to ensure as many people as possible have access to health care and other public services, the Portuguese government is offering a temporary citizenship to people who have residency applications underway. Read more here and see a compilation of good practices for migrant community outreach here

Nantes – Support for victims of violence

Citad’elles, Nantes’ post-trauma consultation centre for women victims of violence remains open. The centre provides medical, psychological and material assistance to women and children that are victims of violence. Mayor Johanna Rolland has deemed the support from the centre essential during confinement. Read more here

Contact: Nicolas Joffraud

Zaragoza – 198 beds for the homeless

The Zaragoza City Council has converted the ‘Tenerías sports municipal centre’ into a big dormitory for the homeless. This is in addition to 98 places already offered at the ‘Albergue municipal’. The services provided will include health assistance, three meals a day, and social services support in cooperation with the municipal social services. Read more here

Contact: Lorena Calvo

Stuttgart – Shelter for quarantine patients

In order to further relieve clinics, ensure good medical care and improve the situation of isolated patients, the city of Stuttgart is creating over 300 places for accommodation and care as a precautionary measure. The rented buildings are spread over several city districts and are operated by various emergency services on behalf of the city. They can be used by people whose quarantine has been ordered, but who cannot be quarantined in their own homes. Among the first users are refugees and homeless people.

Continue reading “Stuttgart – Shelter for quarantine patients”

Nice – Over thousand meals a day for the homeless

Homeless people are housed in different locations in the French city of Nice, from night shelters and schools to hotels and youth hostels. In all places, meals are offered. The central kitchen of the city of Nice provides meals for people staying in hotels. Between 1,000 and 1,400 meals or picnics are distributed per day. Read more here (in French)

Contact: Jérôme Sieurin

Brno – Free face masks for the homeless

Face masks are handed out for free to homeless people by the Social Care Department and the city police of Brno, Czechia. The city has set up a container to collect used masks which are disinfected and then given out again. Brno provides information on the corona measures in six languages: Czech and English, and abridged versions in Russian, Romanian, Arabic and Vietnamese. Read more here

Contact: Pavlina Sukupova

Gijón – Fighting gender violence during confinement

Gijon is thinking about women who live with their abuser 24 hours a day during the confinement. With the campaign ‘¿Es violento?  Llama tú por ella’ (Is he violent? Call for her) mayor Ana González Rodríguez calls on neighbors to denounce situations of gender violence they’re aware of. Read more (in Spanish) here

Contact: Enrique Rodríguez

Madrid – ‘Adopt a grandfather’

Elderly people in Madrid who are isolated in confinement due to COVID-19 can call a free phone number and have a conversation with a volunteer. The project ‘Minutos en Compañía’ – ‘minutes in company’ – has been initiated by the Madrid City Council in collaboration with the organisation ‘Adopta un Abuelo’ – ‘Adopt a Grandparent’. More than 100 volunteers are taking the calls via a switchboard and an app on their mobile phones at home. Read more here (in Spanish)

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Tallinn – Hackathon for services

Tallinn is working together with local start-ups and communities to offer basic services for people in isolation. On Friday, March 13, 2020, Estonian startup foundation Garage48 launched an online hackathon to figure out ways to help communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the solutions is the web-based platform COVID-Help that connects volunteers from local communities with the most vulnerable members of those communities.

Today there are more than 2000 volunteers connected to this platform who offer practical help, like doing shopping for those in quarantine or just calling and talking to lonely elderly people and thus taking some of the stress off local social workers.

Contact: Kerttu Märtin

Leipzig – Garden fence with homeless donations

Homeless people in Leipzig are not any more able to sell street newspapers or to collect bottles. Public toilets and lavatories are closed. To help them, an initiative of Leipzig`s citizens has established a ‘Garden fence for homeless people’ where food, used clothes and sanitary products can be donated. Instructions for using are visible for everyone.

Watch a short news video here.

Contact: Christin Rettke

Tallinn – School lunch continues

Students of Tallinn’s schools will be able to continue to get a daily free school lunch under a special arrangement approved by the city’s authorities. Normally, school lunch is free in Tallinn for the students, but due to the emergency situation all schools are closed in Estonia. As for some children  the school lunch is the only hot meal during the day, the Tallinn has decided to continue to make free school lunches available to students who need it.

Schools will inform families about the availability of a free meal and where the students can get it via the eKool (e-School) online environment and the schools’ web pages. To start getting free school lunches, the family must inform the school, as the number of meals prepared will depend on the number of those who wish to get them.

“Since for some children the school lunch is the only hot meal of the day, we do not consider it possible to deprive the children of it. Therefore the Tallinn crisis committee decided to arrange for the provision of hot school meals for the children in need of help,” Deputy Mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev said. “The most important thing in the current situation is caring, and for aid to reach the children who need it most,” the deputy mayor said, urging schools and families to work together on this. Read more (in Estonian) here.

Contact: Kerttu Märtin

Dusseldorf – More homeless shelters

Düsseldorf is providing food packages and is arranging more shelters in the city. As of Monday, the municipal canteen at will serve as a distribution point for the Streetwork association. Düsseldorf catering establishments will take care of the delivery of groceries.

The party service Fröhlich will supply the day care centers and some emergency accommodation from Saturday. The Schumacher brewery will take care of the supplies and the delivery of the drug help center. The city has informed other institutions such as the GuteNachtBus, the poor kitchen and Fiftyfifty that they can send their needs and questions to the city. Read more (in German) here.

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Barcelona – Health channel for the elderly

The VinclesBCN Service is adapting to COVID-19 and creating a health channel to answer questions from its 2,400 elderly users, who live alone. The health channel includes 21 COVID-19 information groups into which the users have been divided, through which the health team will pass on information that may be of interest to them concerning the pandemic.

With VinclesBCN, users can manage their social relationships by using a simple application installed on a tablet or smartphone. The profile of VinclesBcn users is a person over 65 years old, who is a registered resident of Barcelona and feels lonely. The 40 Social Services centers in the city are the main referrers, although the health service also refers people to the service.

More information here.

Contact: Marta Puchal

Madrid – Keeping domestic violence visible

The deputy mayor of Madrid, Begoña Villacís, announced on Tuesday that the city council has launched a campaign against gender violence with the name #NoEstásSola to give visibility to the suffering of women who live with their abuser 24 hours a day in the period of confinement by the coronavirus.

The campaign seeks to remind victims that protection tools continue to function during the state of alarm. In addition, it will have images and videos on social networks that will include the contact details of the victim care services. Women who are assaulted can leave home to access network resources for victims of gender violence. Learn more here.

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Barcelona – Rent moratorium

Barcelona has announced a moratorium on rents for properties managed by Barcelona Municipal Housing and Rehabilitation Institute (IMHAB), both housing and commercial premises. For three months, a total of 12,000 tenants will not have to pay for their accommodation or commercial premises. When rent collection resumes, tenants will make up for these months by paying slightly more rent each month until December.

In order to tackle this package of measures, the City Council has enabled an extraordinary item of €3.5 million in the municipal budget, which can be extended up to €5.5 million. Read more (in Catalan) here.

Contact: Marta Puchal

Poznan – Citizens volunteer

Many Poznan citizens want to help in fight against COVID-19. To coordinate these volunteers, the city is has prepared a form which people can use to declare what type of help they can provide and to which hospital. The city then uses this information to prepare workers to receive products and coordinate when a particular person can bring their help. Read more here.

Contact: Anna Aleksandrzak

Barcelona – Virtual labour rights office

Barcelona has established, through its local development agency, Barcelona Activa, the on-line and telephone labour right office network to respond to question launched by employees and employers who need to know how to deal with the consequences of the lockdown in their economic activity.

This network of labour rights offices, located in three different districts of the city, was  launched by Barcelona Activa in 2017 as a labour market policy’s tool in partnership with the main unions and some employees’ organisations and was included in a Best practices dossier by the United Nations monitoring committee of the SDGs. More information (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Marta Puchal

Bratislava – Phoneline to help your neighbour

Bratislava has created a support network targeting the needs of the elderly living alone. This works through a phone line via which the elderly can address operators with inquiries or help requests. Many seniors were personally informed about the beginning of its operation via SMS. Local volunteers are also raising awareness of the service by distributing an information leaflet created by the municipality door-to-door.

This network is meant to compliment the city’s social campaign ‘Help your neighbour’, encouraging healthy adults to help older people in their community with shopping and other needs while strictly respecting enhanced hygienic measures.

 Read more here (in Slovak).

Contact: Petra Dzurovcinova

Poznan – Psychological advice for all citizens

In order to support people’s mental health, the city launched a free, online programme that allows people to ask direct advice from psychologists on how to handle problems that COVID-19 has brought to their lives. This is offered to people of all ages in Polish, English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, German and French. Read more here

Contact: Anna Aleksandrzak

Leuven – Connecting those who care

The #OurCityHelps platform has been shared free of charge with municipalities across Belgium. It provides an online place to bring together volunteers able to help out and requests for help, including things like doing groceries, chatting over the phone or walking a dog. The City of Leuven was the first city to adopt the platform. Read more here.

Contact: Piet Forger

Zaragoza – Citizen solidarity platform

Zaragoza City Council’s new digital platform aims to organise all the citizen solidarity actions in one place and connect people in need of help with those offering their help. Initiatives are focussed on how to help the most vulnerable citizens in their daily lives, such as going to the food store, calling elderly people living alone, offering help to take care of the children. Read more here

Contact: Lorena Calvo

Pendik – Police goes shopping for the elderly

In the Turkish city of Pendik, the municipal police goes shopping for people aged 65 and older who have to stay at home due to the coronavirus. Residents can ring the police and the goods will be delivered to their homes. The service is also available for people with disabilities and chronic diseases, and people who need homecare. Read more here (in Turkish)

Contact: Oğuz Karakaya

Pau – Home-meal service by the municipality

Municipal kitchens prepare meals for people who cannot go shopping : elderly, isolated, disabled, or single women with dependent children. These meals are delivered by employees of the city of Pau, usually working in municipal departments which are now closed, as swimming pools. The city has also opened a telephone hotline for psychological support where even politicians take turns to answer the calls. Read more here (in French)

Contact: Valérie Demangel

Krakow – Free psychological consultations over the phone

While many medical appointments are being cancelled due to the requisition of health workers for the management of the crisis, patients often still need support. In particular, the situation can be hard to manage in terms of mental health. Krakow has therefore decided to open free support through phone consultations. 

Read more here

Contact: Marguerite Kuzma

Brussels – 15 places for homeless people

To avoid contamination in the winter shelters which can welcome up to 1,750 people every day, Brussels Capital Region, alongside the Red Cross, opened 15 smaller centres for homeless people as the city moves into a containment period. In addition, a mobile unit with medical staff has been set up, in order to allow for safe passage to hospitals, and to bring homeless people to these new centres.

Read more here

Contact: Geert de Roep and Antoine Umbrain

Milan – Creating a coordination centre for all over 65s services

The municipality of Milan has set up an operational base to organise the transport of goods (food, medicines or other basic necessities) and provide other support services for the over 65, as well as other people who have other chronic conditions or are  immunocompromised that have been ordered to stay at home.

A parallel action undertaken by the city includes the creation of seven food hubs for distribution to those unable to leave their home, and the training of 3,000 people who applied to become volunteers.

Read more here and here

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli