The Social Counseling Office (BSR), Food Bank Veldhoven, St. Leergeld Veldhoven en de Kempen, St. Welzijn Ouderen Veldhoven (SWOVE) and Cordaad Welzijn jointly offer their services in the Veldwijzer at Sterrenlaan 15. The Veldwijzer, Huiskamer van Veldhoven, as it likes to be called, everyone is welcome on Saturday, November 5, open 24 hours a day from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
VELDHOVEN – In 2018, St. Leergeld Veldhoven and Kempen, the Food Bank and BSR a partnership under the name Veldwijzer. Since then, it has been a place where citizens facing complex (financial) problems can get support. Jan van der Hamsvoord is chairman of the board of BSR. “At the end of 2021, the addition of SWOVE and Cordaad Welzijn strengthened Veldwijzer’s ties to the Veldhoven community: An even wider audience can now find support from Veldwijzer. We like to give every requester the feeling of being able to cope together so that he or she is not alone.”
To give shape to this feeling for the residents, the 5 first started to get that feeling together. “It is great to see how the mutual cooperation has grown in the past year. Due to the relocation of Cordaad and SWOVE, much has changed in Veldwijzer. The people who worked in the Veldwijzer – BSR, Leergeld and the Food Bank – but also the people who joined – Cordaad and SWOVE – had to get used to each other and the space at the beginning”, noted SWOVE director Ans van Kuik.
Central welfare themes in the Veldwijzer include combating poverty, loneliness, dementia, informal care and legal support. The 5 welfare organizations all work with professionals and for the most part depend on around 500 volunteers. “Together we have so much knowledge under one roof, which is unique in the region. By working together in this way, we increase our effectiveness and reach. People with problems get help here in a living room-like environment. We want to be a ‘one stop shop’ for all Veldhoven residents who have problems”, says Peer Willemse, chairman of the Food Bank.
At BSR, you mainly see residents with a small subsidy, who knock for support, advice and information. BSR has been striving for low-threshold availability for years. “We expect that with Stuen i Veldwijzer, the help offered by the 5 organizations will be more easily found by the residents. You can walk in here relaxed, the coffee is ready. It is connected to the accessibility that BSR has been aiming for for years,” says coordinator Annemarie Soetens-de Jongh.
Whoever enters Veldhoven’s Stue is therefore welcomed by the hosts and hostesses. “People are welcomed and spoken to in a friendly way. They are guided to the organization that can provide the answer. If the answer cannot be found in the Field Guide, we will look for an answer outside the Field Guide. People often have to go through a threshold to ask for help. We help them overcome that threshold. Because we look together for an answer, we prevent the asker from falling away. No one benefits from being sent ‘from pillar to post,'” says Van Kuik .
Not infrequently there is more than one request for help that someone comes to the living room, notes Harry Welp of St. Leergeld Veldhoven and de Kempen regularly. “We are really interested in their questions and problems. By having conversations with them, we also try to find out if there are other problems that one of the organizations can help with or if there is a need for a referral to other agencies. In the near future, we aim to accommodate counter services from other agencies in our building on certain days or parts of the day. In this way, Veldwijzer has a wide selection for all residents of Veldhoven.”
Director-administrator Jacqueline van Poeteren from Cordaad Welzijn also wants to work together with the 4 other welfare organizations to raise awareness of Veldwijzer and Living Room. “We would like to be known among residents and professional business partners as the location in Veldhoven, if you need a little extra help, advice or a listening ear.”
Of course, the 5 individually already have a feel for what is going on in the local community. Van Poeteren expects that the joining of forces will give the organizations an even greater sense of community. “Many meetings already take place in the living room, with or without a direct reason. Due to the collaboration with our partners in Veldwijzer and the many customer contacts we have, there are extra moments to be in direct and indirect contact with Veldhoven’s residents. These meetings will give us extra information about what is going on and what is going on. It strengthens our sense of what is needed. The starting point is that together with residents and business partners we will set up extra (preventive) activities.”
After almost a year, there are already good examples of mutual cooperation to report. Such as residents who have been guided from a course to BSR for administrative support or who have started working as a volunteer in Veldwijzer. Together, the 5 organizations have already created something beautiful, and they want to expand that. Swove director Van Kuik therefore hopes that more and more residents will find their way to Veldwijzer. “If we succeed in welcoming many residents to Stuen, and we provide answers, they will talk about it with those around them. Hopefully it will find its way to Stuen. The more people who come to us, the better our sense of community will be. The more sprouted, the better. It is up to all of us to make sure that when they cross the threshold, they go home feeling good. Hopefully, volunteers will also find their way to Stuen if they are looking for a meaningful daytime activity.”
Van Poeteren also agrees with the latter – that volunteers find their way to Living Room: “Veldwijzer is also a place where you can develop as a resident of Veldhoven, also as a volunteer or intern. Simple and nice and close.”
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