The city of Frankfurt has donated €10,000 to help its northern Italian twin city of Milan in the fight against the corona virus. Mayor Peter Feldmann had promised the support to his Milan counterpart Giuseppe Sala in a letter on behalf of the city government. The amount was donated to the ‘Coronavirus. Fondo di mutuo soccorso’, Mutual Aid Fund. End of May, the city had organised the ‘Frankfurt World Conference’, a virtual meeting with its twin cities Milan, Italy; Birmingham, England; Eskisehir, Turkey; Philadelphia, USA; and Guangzhou, China. You can read more here (in German) and watch the sessions here and here. A school exchange with Guangzhou had to be postponed, while the schools are keeping contact, as you can read here (in German)
The municipal markets will start to sell vouchers to give the consumers the opportunity to support the action made by district associations to provide food to those in need. The Economy, Innovation and Employment Area has doubled the amount of subsidies for the expansion of municipal markets, as well as their digitalization, which has been fundamental in recent months and has allowed them to meet the demand of the people of Madrid from their homes, increasing market sales in this sense by more than 400%. Read more here (in Spanish)
“Our Europe stands for togetherness and solidarity across borders, also and especially in times of global crisis” – that’s the message of European city leaders for Europe Day on 9 May 2020. In a joint video message, mayors of 14 European cities call for solidarity and emphasise the role of cities which are working together and helping each other.
To celebrate Europe Day, the cities, all members of the network EUROCITIES, sing together the European anthem, ‘Ode to Joy’ from Ludwig van Beethoven and Friedrich Schiller. Singers from each city join from home, due to the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, and form a European choir.
The city of Milan has announced plans for the gradual reopening of public museums, exhibition spaces and libraries under specific sanitary measures. In addition 1,100 police officers are being deployed to oversee that measures are heeded in around 400 newly reopened playgrounds. The city council is also discussing to distribute the remaining monies raised through the city’s Mutual Aid Fund. Read more here
Ahead of Europe Day (9 May), the City of Muenster plans to hand out 5,000 free Europe themed face masks to the public. As part of the gradual easing of Corona related restrictions in everyday public life, the masks are to symbolise the solidarity and protection of all Europeans.
Ahead of Europe Day, Karlsruhe is asking its citizens to submit short, creative videos on the theme of ‘Karlsruhe in Europe: We stand together!’ replacing the planned outdoor event. On Europe Day itself, everybody is invited to perform the European anthem from their windows or balconies – other cities across Europe are welcome to join in as a sign of solidarity. Read more here (in German)
Milan is providing a personal grocery shopping and delivery service for the elderly thanks to an agreement with food retailers and a charity organisation. Funded by the charity, the program works through a call centre that the elderly can call to place their orders. The orders are prepared and delivered by volunteers. The program serves around 3,000 people and involves 135 educators. Read more here (in Italian)
In light of the economic damage as result of the corona pandemic, the mayor of the Italian city of Florence, Dario Nardella, calls for a united Europe. Florence has more than 1,000 positive cases of corona. “The city is very committed to helping the elderly population, to building quarantine structures and, through a €2 million fund, to help families purchasing food“, Dario Nardella says. “The situation is very difficult, which is why Europe is needed now more than ever. Europe must be united, allow member countries to resort to debt, and issue corona-bonds to have cash flows and allow all cities to start again when the crisis will be over.“ The EU member states are talking about financial aid at a video meeting of the finance ministers this Thursday.
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)
Lights from empty hotel rooms which form the message “4U!” – with this, the city of Budapest every night sends a sign of solidarity to other cities that are similarly affected by the corona crisis. The campaign from the Municipality of Budapest and the Hungarian Hotel and Restaurant Association aims to draw attention to the fact that cities and residents can only survive and overcome this crisis together and by looking out for each other and acting in a tolerant and empathetic way. The light and the attention people give each other gives hope and strength to many in this difficult time. Read more here
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
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
As capital city of Piedmont, Italy, Turin is organising its measures in the corona crisis in close cooperation with the regional and national level. The Municipal Operational Centre is constantly in contact with the Crisis Unit of the Piedmont Region. Social services for the elderly are taking care of other people in need now, and a new system for the supply of free food has been created.
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)
Mayors of big cities across Europe call for cross-border solidarity during the corona crisis. In a joint statement of the network EUROCITIES, they urge a strong collaboration between all levels of government.
Bamberg is matching those especially vulnerable to COVID-19 with volunteers from their neighbourhood who can help them to run errands or walk the dog. The offer works by phone, and no internet access is required. Read more (in German) here.
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.
Elderly, disabled and other people who need assistance get home delivery of groceries and medicines via a new service that started this week in Bologna. The initiative “L’Unione fa la spesa” (United we shop) is a joint venture by the municipality, Coop Alleanza 3.0 (the largest consumers’ cooperative in Italy) and representatives of the voluntary sector. Read more here
Zaragoza has launched a platform for corporate solidarity contributions. The site connects the commitment and resources of private companies with the needs of Zaragoza society in order to face this emergency situation. Five work areas have been set up in which the different companies can lend their help: health, education, entertainment, technology and food. Read more (in Spanish) here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The city council is using its existing portal for citizen participation to give people a space to propose new initiatives, and for associations to share what they are already doing to improve the quality of life in Madrid while maintaining the current situation of alarm. Read more here
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
Madrid City Council is promoting a campaign that calls for neighbourhood solidarity. Anyone who would like to offer their help to senior citizens in their neighbourhood need only print out a poster, fill it out and post it somewhere visible. Read more here