‘While many formal institutions shut their doors immediately because of coronavirus and remained closed for a long time, the doors of the drop-in centres were quickly reopened’
Drop-in centres and special pastoral care provide a safety net and are often a last resort for vulnerable people in the Netherlands. They lend an ear and offer solace to the lonely, the homeless, the undocumented and people with mental health problems. With the Franciscus Fund project, Kansfonds aims to consolidate the infrastructure of drop-in houses which are very important for society. ‘We direct the money to those who need it most,’ says project leader Bram Truijen. ‘Drop-in centres and street and neighbourhood pastors are organisations that are always and unconditionally there for these people. But their work is often difficult to finance by funds, which is why we have set up the Franciscus Fund. Through contributions from Dioraphte and Adessium, and others, we have started a three-year capacity-building programme for drop-in centres.’
The project consists of two phases. The first phase, which has now been completed, was knowledge-sharing and an assessment and analysis of the specific needs for drop-in centres. In the second phase the findings from phase I, will be implemented into the different organisations. Truijen clarifies: ‘In 2020, for example, we did a Fundraising training course with the drop-in centres. Part of this was to help them formulate their own strategy. They are now going to implement this and we will jointly evaluate the results in 2021. Thanks to the support of the Franciscus Fund, they are now able to work on developing their own organisational framework in many areas.’
According to Truijen, supporting the drop-in centres is more important than ever this year.
‘While many formal institutions shut their doors immediately because of coronavirus and remained closed for a long time, the doors of the drop-in centres were quickly reopened. There are 76 drop-in centres participating in our project, with a total of 38,000 individual visitors. What’s more, more than half of the centres are seeing an increase in visitor numbers. That says a lot about the urgency and necessity of these centres.’