In Belgium, the focus has been on social cohesion. In the city of Aalst, a travelling café lets informal carers meet others in the same situation for learning and socialising.
In Turnhout, quite novel steps have been taken to strengthen informal care and voluntary assistance between immigrants and the elderly native population.
“The area around Merode Centre in Turnhout represents a complex urban situation. Inhabitants include a large group of immigrants as well as an elderly native population, some in need of care. To encourage volunteering and informal care in this area, there is a need for mutual understanding and spaces for informal encounters between these groups”, says Katrijn Raeymaekers of the City of Turnhout.
Fifty portraits of residents in a street in Turnhout were taken by a photographer. To stimulate positive curiosity, people can also read a personal story of the resident.
“The posters are displayed in the windows of residents and local shops to create visibility. People recognise each other in the street. The portraits are also a tool to create social connectedness. An exhibition of the portratis will be organised, and a ‘reward’ will be received of their own portrait to take home”, says Raeymaekers.