The measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus have a major impact on many people. Particularly vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and people in poor health, often need help. The care sector also has a number of needs. At the same time, many people want to contribute as volunteers. "In order to help everyone in the best possible way, we have launched the Leuven Helpt central platform," says mayor Mohamed Ridouani. "This enables us to match supply and demand and mean something for as many people as possible. In these times, a gesture of solidarity is worth a lot. With this platform we can actively and fully support that".
Shopping for an older neighbour, walking the dog, going to the pharmacy, distributing meals, writing letters, talking on the phone with an older person who has to stay at home or is in a rest home without visitors... Or do you need someone to go to the store or the post for you, a meal, or a nice chat? The city of Leuven has joined forces with partners such as the healthcare sector and the university and has set up Leuven Helpt, in collaboration with Give A Day.
"It's heartwarming to see how many people in Leuven want to help in this difficult time", says mayor Mohamed Ridouani (sp.a). "We receive an awful lot of e-mails from entrepreneurs, companies and associations who want to make a contribution. We are looking at how we can make the best use of the help offered, because this difficult period will continue for a long time to come".
On www.leuven.be/leuvenhelpt all questions are bundled and you can easily see how you can contribute as a volunteer. People who need help can ask their questions discreetly. This can also be done by calling 016/27 27 72. City staff bring volunteers who want to make an effort into contact with the needs that exist. Volunteers also receive instructions on how to make the help safe. At the Vlaams Steunpunt for volunteers everyone can now take out free insurance. Until now this was only possible for associations.
People from Leuven who want to help people in their neighbourhood can download a map at Leuven Helpt to get on the bus with their neighbours.
"Because we have the habit of working together in Leuven, we are able to react quickly and set up the necessary initiatives. Thanks to our close ties with knowledge institutions, the healthcare sector, companies, civil society... we can work together quickly and efficiently and provide solutions such as this platform. Together with the care and welfare organisations, we look at how Leuven can help them to continue to guarantee good care. Collaboration will become even more important in the coming period", says Ridouani.
"Other municipalities that also want to work with us can certainly come to us. We are happy to share our approach and experience in the coming period", concludes Ridouani. "In the meantime, almost 200 other cities and municipalities have already adopted our example, as far as New Zealand".