A place where you can meet your neighbours, right in the centre of your own neighborhood. Surely that will do the trick when it comes to getting connected to people close by. You just pop in for a coffee or a chat whenever you feel like it. In Naastenbest you can do all this in the building of the old music school.
“The old community centers are back”, according to Els Wanders, “People need a place in their own neighborhood where they can go to when they need some company. Have a drink and a chat or join of our activities. ”
In Holland, a lot of old people are lonely and this problem is fastly growing. The government actually put out an extra 26 million euro to battle it. But what about the younger people? They too feel lonely sometimes and find it difficult to go to a public place like a bar or restaurant on their own. That becomes less of an issue if you can go somewhere close to home where you already know people.
Els Wanders developed a plan to achieve this and presented it to the municipality. “I want to make it possible for people to connect with their neighbours and I knew this old school building was just sittin there. So I asked whether I could use it. I also had another goal. I am really interested in sustainability issues esspecially when it comes to recycling rain water. I really feel citizens have to pay attention to that, but they are not so keen to just listen to the story as such. But once they are visiting the old school to have a coffee and a chat it is far more easy to get their attention.”
The walk-in house does not receive any fundings. According to Els that’s not a problem “We just bring our own coffee and tea and we bake our own cakes!”