Altena - A Transfer Story

Edited on 27/05/2021

Our starting point: We had already a working volunteering base, the STELLWERK and we also had some great projects which are going on in Altena, but we have one really big problem we need new and young people for our volunteering actions.

It was and still is a great chance to be a part of the transfer network from Urbact “Volunteering Cities” and learn from the lead partner and the other cities what we could do, to get more volunteers into the STELLWERK.

We also have some great partners in Altena for example the churches, the Red Cross, the caritas. All of our partners struggle to get young people, who want to take the chance of being a volunteer. We talked with them about the problem and we could resume, that young people often have not enough free time to take part in volunteering actions. Young people need a limited volunteering time- for example only for two or three weeks or on he longrun, but only one time a month. It is different to work with retired people or to work with young people.

We are impressed by the project of the lead partner and the other partner. For example we saw in Pregrada the young volunteers are helping the elderly people in the countryside for getting their things done for winter.

After the visiting of some other cities and working on the modules and have the deep dives to see what they could change also give us a lot of motivation and new ideas and inspiring us to work in Altena, with the new knowledge we got from the meetings and also from the impressions of the other cities.

The ULG members went to the different councils and did marketing for the STELWERK work and to join Volunteering in general. They also went to schools and promoting volunteering, so at least we found some young people, who want to join the different activities of the STELLWERK, especially the smart phone course. We also founded the swap-shop, TAUSCHRAUSCH. A project specially for young people.

Then Covid-19 came into our lives and everything changed, we had to close our swap-shop, because there was the first lockdown.

A lot of our normal volunteering actions as the repair café, the social wardrobe, the meetings –all have to stop-.

We founded the group “Altena help”.

“Altena help” is a merger of different actions: the shopping service, the library service, painting easter pictures and so on, specially for the Covid-situation.

We started to meet online by Zoom, and in the summer outside. Even know it is hart to have the ULG meetings, because most of the ULG members are elderly people and are not familiar with the digital communication and have to learn how to use the devices. From our Tablet course we gave the tablets to members of the ULG, who didn´t have a device to communicate with Zoom.

We learned during our STELLWERK-journey that in Altena we have to find specific topics and the volunteers will come.

We installed the “Tafel”. 

“Tafel” is in Germany well known. We started a cooperation with the Tafel in the neighbour town Lüdenscheid. Volunteers drive to the different supermarkets in Altena and get the food the supermarket have too much or “the best before date” has expired and then give it to people in need. One thing is that other wise the food will be thrown away and also it is nice to give something to people, who can not effort fresh vegetable and fruits, because in Germany the fresh things are more expensive than rice or noodles.

We made an announcement in the local newspaper and on facebook, that we are searching for volunteering help to sort the food, to give to the people and also searching for people who want vegetables for their animals (because we also have food which is ok for animals, but not for humans). We had a great feedback from the community of Altena and at least 50 new volunteers who wanted to help. We also received a lot of money donations from companies and also from private people for the equipment (Fridges, heavy duty shelfs, boxes) but also for the cost sharing of the transporter.

In resume, we now know, that we need to have special topics to find new volunteers and also to receive donations for our projects.

Submitted by s.georgiou on 27/05/2021