The Ljubljana Health Centre has ensured psycho-social support for anyone potentially struggling with the current epidemiological situation. The support is offered via phone or email. It has also been offered by some non-governmental organisations whose programs are co-financed by the city of Ljubljana.
Ljubljana has connected with a network of local volunteers who want to make everyday life easier for the elderly. The people involved are workers and volunteers from the Home Care Institute (Zavod za oskrbo na domu) and Ljubljana’s cultural public institutes (e.g. theatres, galleries). From Monday to Friday, the volunteer project manager is using the Home Care Institute Ljubljana’s phone number to collect the contact information of those who wish to be called by volunteers. The volunteers talk to the elderly about their jobs and about how the city’s cultural institutes work, as well as about normal everyday things, in order to help the elderly overcome their feelings of loneliness.
When the Slovenian Government banned closed all organised child care, Ljubljana sent a request to kindergarten and elementary school principals to find out if any of their teachers and educators would be willing to volunteer to take children into care, either at the volunteer’s home or the child’s home. 53 educators from Ljubljana’s kindergartens and 26 teachers from Ljubljana’s elementary schools responded to the request. Due to the virus’ specificities, the volunteers can only be healthy people under 50, with no chronic illnesses and those who do not have small children at home. In this way the city has managed to guarantee child care for the children whose parents are obliged to work in extraordinary circumstances.
Ljubljana has organized home food delivery for children from at risk families and elderly citizens. Drivers of city buses are volunteering to perform the deliveries. Over 100 people have volunteered at the Ljubljana Public Transport (Ljubljanski potniški promet) public company.
Bus drivers have also started helping with urgent non-scheduled transport of people, organized by the Slovenian Red Cross. The transport is intended for people who urgently need access to essential services or errands.
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.
Antwerp has launched a platform to facilitate the large number of volunteer initiatives that have erupted across the city. These initiatives aim to help residents who can, for instance, no longer walk to the store or pharmacy or take out their dog.
Residents who need help can report this via an online form or a free telephone number. Antwerp residents who do not only want to help people in their immediate vicinity can register as volunteers. The help offered is very varied. For example, this could be a volunteer who goes to the store every day or one-off telephone help for a computer problem. Even if people want to talk to someone for a while, they can register. Above all, the platform wants to bundle very everyday practical help questions: write a card, chat over the phone, take care of animals, deliver soup, go to the post, do the grocery shopping, etc. Check out the platform (in Dutch) here.
Stuttgart is coordinating a recent surge in volunteer efforts through collating and publishing offers of help, supporting and advising individuals and initiatives in volunteering, compiling ideas for delivering support without physical contact, and providing ideas on further possibilities for solidarity action.
The city is managing this through a new platfomr ‘Corona: Engagiert in Stuttgart’. Read more about the imitative (in German) here.
Belgian municipalities are dealing with the large increase in volunteering through a platform called ‘Give a Day’ which collaborates with local governments so that anyone in the country can find a volunteering opportunity near them. Read more (in French or Dutch) here.
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.
In Antwerp a triage system was established to isolate and provide appropriate care to patients infected with the coronavirus. A patient must first contact the GP by telephone. With mild or severe symptoms, the patient is directed to one of five triage points on the city’s territory, where a deeper triage occurs. The triage posts are an initiative of GP associations. However, they do not have enough people to perform all tasks there.
After a survey among its own staff, the city of Antwerp delegated volunteers to support the five triage stations that have been set up in the city’s territory. Hundreds volunteered. In less than two days, 10 coordinators and more than 100 call center, reception and security staff were found, selected, briefed, provided with work equipment and deployed in the triage stations.