The Salvation Army community centers play an important role in Dutch society. Everyone is welcome here for a cup of coffee and a good conversation, an activity, a nice meal, a visit to the clothing store or a course. The Salvation Army has more than 100 of these living rooms throughout the Netherlands that are visited by almost 15,000 people every week. The importance of the living rooms in the neighborhood became clear during the first lockdown at the beginning of this year. People who could normally be found in the local living room regularly were no longer allowed to go there and missed this enormously. At the moment, during this partial lockdown, the local living rooms are open but with restrictions.
However, that did not mean that work came to a standstill. In fact, help turned out to be more needed than ever. As many activities as possible have been resumed since 1 July. Program director Bert van de Haar: ‘We always do our utmost to stay “close”, but we do have to maintain a safe distance and we have taken extra measures. is huge. And we expect that this will only continue to increase. ‘ In the community centers, debt relief and homework support are offered, supplemented by local activities. The aim is to get people out of social isolation and to work on a stronger social network for the visitors. Moreover, activities are organized by the visitors themselves and therefore have an important connecting function. Most important, however, is that people feel at home, belong and be seen.
Astrid (sitting at the table) likes to visit Zuilen in the community center room in Utrecht. ‘It is always so cozy here. Truly a second home for me. ‘ Photo above: Helen Gorleku (60) likes to and often visits the community center in Amsterdam Southeast. ‘Cooking is my passion. I’ve been cooking as a volunteer at the Army community center room for about eleven years. It makes me so happy to see my neighbors enjoying themselves. We have a great time together and we learn from each other. As long as I can put a smile on people’s faces with my cooking talent, I will continue to cook here! ‘ Photos by Raymond Rutting.
To underline the importance of community centers in local society and to celebrate the reopening of these locations, the Salvation Army, in collaboration with Specsavers, presents a special photo series with photos of ten different living rooms. This series provides an insight into the diversity and versatility of the role that living rooms fulfill for their visitors. The photos show various activities that are organized in the living rooms. In 2020, each Specsavers store will save an amount for the community centers by setting aside an amount for each purchase of glasses or hearing aids.
(PvWK, photos from the expo / RR)
Specsavers is a fast-growing retail chain that operates 143 eye and hearing care stores in the Netherlands. The stores are run on a joint venture basis led by local retail partners. The originally British family business has been active in the Netherlands since 1997 and its mission is to make high-quality and affordable eye and hearing care accessible to everyone. Specsavers Netherlands posted a turnover of € 156 million in 2019/2020. Specsavers wants to play an increasingly prominent role in the market for primary eye and hearing care in the coming years and further strengthen its position. All opticians and optometrists working at Specsavers have completed external optics training. In addition, all hearing care professionals are registered at StAr (Stichting Audicienregister), which guarantees the quality of services and company design. An unrelenting focus on innovation makes Specsavers stand for high-quality products and service at the intersection of medical care, fashion and technology. Through the Specsavers Steunt Foundation, the organization shows its commitment to the communitymainly by supporting charities with a local character. ‘
About the Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a Christian organization and is active worldwide in more than 130 countries. From his Christian motivation, the Army provides material and immaterial aid to people “without a helper”. The Salvation Army in the Netherlands is active in the field of social relief, labor reintegration, rehabilitation, prevention and social recovery, addiction treatment, church work and international development aid. The 7,000 professionals and 13,000 volunteers of the Salvation Army are available each year for approximately 75,000 people. For more information about the organization: www.legerdesheils.nl. ‘