Neighbourhood help – community against Corona!
Italians are singing from their balconies together. The Swiss are clapping to express their gratitude to hospital staff and pharmacists. Since lockdown, an enormous wave of solidarity has swept across Switzerland.
The Federal Council currently strongly recommends that elderly and immunocompromised people no longer leave their house or flat. This means they need to rely on external support. Many people have responded to this need and, in recent weeks, numerous simple, creative initiatives have been launched. People are supporting each other and many are helping out wherever they can.
And they not only providing necessary support to people at high risk, who should stay at home, but also to working parents who cannot work from home and who also need someone to take care of their children. In order to solve such problems in Zug Canton, the Central Coordination Office has been coordinating everyone who needs help or would like to offer help. All Zug municipalities are working together under the leadership of the Heads of Social Services Conference for Zug municipalities (Sovoko), supported by numerous social institutions and organisations.
Do you live in Zug Canton and are you looking for support? Or do you have some spare time and would like to offer to help? You can get in touch with the Central Coordination Office directly, using the Contact form. The Central Coordination Office can also be reached by telephone on 041 723 89 60 (Monday – Friday, 8:00 to 17:00).
There are also many other platforms on which volunteers can offer to help, and where people who need support can find it. We have listed some further opportunities for Neighbourhood Help. If you offer to help someone, or accept help yourself, please make sure that you observe the hygiene rules from the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG). This way you will protect yourself and the other person from possibly being infected by the Coronavirus.
Offering, receiving and coordinating help:
The “Five-up” app
The free “Five-up” app unites the most important functions in a simple, minimalist way, to provide support for coordination and to give you an overview. On the app you will find volunteers who will go shopping for you or run errands, and many other things too. Both volunteer helpers and people who need help can activate services themselves and organise themselves into closed groups. On Five up you will directly be able to see where help is still needed and where people have already signed up to offer help, unlike on Facebook and other social media. This will save a great deal of unnecessary communications and misunderstandings. To download Five-up or find out more about it, see here. If you need help using Five-up, then take a look at the tips and instructions for use.
The “AMIGOS” app
In partnership with Pro Senectute Schweiz, Migros has resurrected the “AMIGOS” app. Here you will find people who can’t do their own shopping right now and others who will be glad to do it for them. This offer is explicitly targeted at people who are high risk, meaning older people, people with pre-existing conditions, or people who are currently self-isolating or in quarantine. Anyone can become a helper and support these people in their current situation. Download the AMIGOS Bringer App and register as a Bringer. Or are you particularly at risk and do you need help? Then let others do your shopping for you and become a Buyer.
Because many older people are not active on social media, it makes sense to put up a notice offering your help. You can find a template on the “Liebe-Nachbarn” website that you can personalise quite easily, or even translate into other languages. Then all you need to do is print it and hang it up somewhere in your neighbourhood, stairwell, on letter boxes or in other public places.
The non-profit organisation Swiss Volunteers was actually founded to support event organisers in arranging their social and cultural events. As many such events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus, the volunteers are now offering to help social and health organisations free of charge.
Many people have already joined forces on social networks like Facebook or Whatsapp to create help groups. If you would like to join such a group, then you will find a practical overview sorted by postcode on the “Help Now” website. The same is also true for anyone who needs help.
A telephone chain
The idea behind telephone chains is simple and based on the Class Alerts that you remember from your time at school: once per week, the telephone chain participants call each other in turn. They ask each other about their health and wellbeing, and exchange news. In the current situation, many elderly people cannot nurture their social contacts and relationships as they used to, because they are required to remain at home and to observe BAG’s recommendations for people at high risk. Join in, help out and bring people together by telephone during the corona pandemic. Absolutely anyone can get a telephone chain going. Are you interested? Then you can find more information here.
Helping out in healthcare
Hospitals, too, are seeking volunteers with or without a medical background. For example, on 20 March 2020, the private hospital group Hirslanden provided a registration form on their Facebook page for anyone interested. Find information online via each hospital’s social media channels.
Community against corona!
Show your solidarity on Neighbourhood Help Day on 2 April 2020!
Neighbourhood Help Day is intended to extend the existing helper network and make it closer-knit. More than 1 million households will sooner or later rely on support. These are people who particularly need to protect themselves against being infected by the coronavirus due to their age or for health reasons.
Get involved on Neighbourhood Help Day!