Kindred by choice

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Kindred by choice

Salzgitter, Germany
Project Stage:
Growth
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We provide joyful spaces for childcare, the care of elderly people and civil engagement under one roof.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The demographic challenge with its growing aging population in Germany has several effects - elderly people without strong family- or community ties become lonely and estranged; - there are no places and opportunities to meet people from all generations and backgrounds without the need to consume or attend an organized event; - cooking and eating all by themselves is unpleasant for many people; - social isolation of senile people or people with dementia and their caretakers - few alternatives to conventional nursing homes (often seen as the very last exit) or day care centers - many families must cope with a double or triple burden: caring for small children and/or elderly parents, housekeeping and paid work. Instead of bringing small children and the elderly to the same place they are forced to take them to different spaces. - separation of generations leads to more intolerance

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

- We have about 400 Mother Centers in Germany. The umbrella organization is the “ Mütterzentren Bundesverband” in Hamburg. One of the most innovative Mother Centers, which spreads its ideas to others, is in Salzgitter. Having begun thirty years ago with the idea of creating a public space for women and children, it is now a modern two-story-building with an open architecture that facilitates daily encounters between several generations of both sexes, encouraging mutual help and understanding. - The house is reminiscent of a small village where people stroll, talk, laugh and work. It consists of a big living room, small shops and a market place. No door is closed. Some have port holes. Children live in so-called family groups from 0 to 12. On the other side of the floor pass elderly people their time; - The house is big and going from one point to another involves a walk. This means opportunities to meet, talk and sit down in one of the many chairs distributed throughout;. - Healthy common meals are offered for everybody at big and small tables always with attention to each persons needs. - The freely chosen forms of community arise, grow and evolve through participation and joint decision making. - Facilitators (called: Gastgeberinnen) inspire mutual empathy and interaction. The focus is on a person`s abilities, not her limitations. - The intergenerational togetherness inspires self-confidence and joy - The Mother Centers provide services to facilitate the daily life of families, the elderly and whoever needs it.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

When former locksmith Konrad Krüger, 65 from Salzgitter found himself having to take care of his one-year-old grandchild Joanna, he was totally overwhelmed with this new task between his own four walls. Then he heard of the Mother Center and the two started to go there frequently, play in the playroom and have lunch. Soon Joanna made friends with other children and Konrad started to use his time for little voluntary repair jobs in the Mother Center, drove the meals-on-wheels car and even worked with the kids to restor an old carrousel. When he became very sick many of his new friends cared for him and, in the end buried him. Mr. Gläser, 73 says: “The sudden death of my wife knocked me out. I felt deeply abandoned. When I came to the Mother Center I met Conny, the facilitator many of us call the angel without wings. She took me to a table with people who had similar experiences and showed me how to cope and find new friends. I enjoy the children like the four- year-old Luisa who has lunch with us. Sometimes we play together, but often it makes me happy just to watch the children or to exchange a smile.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Since 1990 the Mother Centers have been guided by the idea that old and young become kindred by choice in a public place. The pioneer in this field is the Mother Center in Salzgitter spreading its experience with help of the Federation of Mother Centers to the other centers all over Germany. Conditions in Salzgitter are ideal: open architecture, volunteers and professionals working at eye-level and joint sessions to reflect the work. We don´t know of any organization that has similar ideas and conditions except the model in Japan described above.
About You
About You
First Name

Hildegard

Last Name

Schooß

Implementer(s) and cooperation partners
Name

SOS-Mütterzentrum Salzgitter

Type

Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

Country where main implementer is located

, NI, Salzgitter

How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

Hildegard Schooß was one of thirteen siblings. After marrying, moving to another town and having her first child, she felt isolated and lonely. To overcome the classical role model as housewife and mother she looked for public rooms to found the first Mother Center: a public living room where women and children woul support each other like members of an extended family. The idea spread all over Germany under the umbrella of the Federation of the Mother Centers. Due to the demographic change the visitors of the Centers became more diverse and older: The centers became multigenerational.

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Cooperation partner
Name

Muetterzentren Bundesverband

Type

Non-profit/NGO/citizen sector organisation

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

- external and internal communication about the activities of the Mother Centers
- organization of trainings of facilitators
- networking
-organization of meetings
- organization of telefon conferences

Cooperation partner
Name
Type

Please select

Website
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Approximately 50 words left (300 characters).

Cooperation partner
Name
Type

Please select

Website
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Approximately 50 words left (300 characters).

Cooperation partner
Name
Type

Please select

Website
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Approximately 50 words left (300 characters).

Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Assisted daily living, Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering), Age friendly buildings, environments, and communities.

If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

Demographic change, the lack of nursing staff and the newly introduced entitlement to a place in a day nursery for children under three are a constant topics in the media. Till now the federation of Mother Centers is the only organization that aims to train people to take care of both groups (young and old) together and the Mother Center in Salzgitter is the pioneer who started to implement the idea. We have a holistic approach and don´t think in terms of categories, specialization or separation of groups. We believe that up to a certain point it is possible to care for the very young and older people at the same time, under the same roof with the same staff. What is important is that both groups have common interests, rituals and the possibility to withdraw.
A model that comes close to our idea is the Japanese day care center Showa (see the documentary: “Lebenserwartung. Die Alten und die Kinder in Japan” by Elschenbroich and Schweitzer). In this Center, which has a kindergarten all caretakers bring their small children to work. Whenever possible the children have joint activities with the old people. the muetterzentren bv has shown the film at our nationwide meeting in June.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

Since 1990 the Mother Centers have been guided by the idea that old and young become kindred by choice in a public place. Leading in this field is the Mother Center in Salzgitter spreading its experience with help of the Federation of Mother Centers to the other centers all over Germany. Conditions in Salzgitter are ideal: open architecture, volunteers and professionals working at eye-level and joint sessions to reflect the work. These conditions allow that all generations become aware of the needs of each other. We have often groups of people like social workers social scientists media professionals visiting the Center. Two studies of Mother Centers can be found on the Website of the Bundesverband, Hildegard Schooss published 20/2011 the first SRS Report. Lars Repp, a student from the University of Cambirdge is currently conducting a studiy about the effects Mothercenters have on all people involved: volunteers, visitors, professionals. We have also been evaluted by Phineo.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for more than 5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

complementary (your solution is complementing existing solutions and compensating their weaknesses while not intending to substitute them)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

We need to change our attitude toward caring. At present instructions for caretakers are aimed to target groups. There is no exchange among the institutions. Representatives of the Mother Centers attend monthly meetings of caretaker institutions for children or for old people, but there is no meeting to bring together both groups. We need to train people who have the courage to take joyful care of children and elderly at the same time and cooperate. We need buildings that serve both groups. We need visionary politicians who help to overcome legal barriers.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees

2

Volunteers

5

Trainees

4

External advisers and experts

2

Others (please specify)
What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

Our paid employees have a formal education as caretakers and are especially trained to work with people with dementia. All voluteers and facilitators are prepared and trained and are familar with our philosophy and posture. We meet regularily for reflections.and supervisions.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

Or organization is based on the self help principle. We have flat hierachies, and practice direct participation

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.

85000 Euro per year

National public funding

%80

European Union public funding

%0

Economic return from own products/services

%0

Foundations and philanthropy capital

%5

Single donations from private individuals

%15

Donations from private companies

%

Crowdfunding platforms

%0

Participation fees

%0

Other (please specify)

%0 we habe a great amount of time donations and payment in kind

Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

Families with children and elderlies including those with physical or psychological difficulties, different cultural and social backgrounds, people with dementia, caretakers, politicians and mukltiplicators who believe in our idea and posture toward intergenerational care and spread it

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.

Annually 20000 visitors, about 2000 children, 600 old and very old people come to our Mother Center

In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

Salzgitter, Lower Saxonia, Germany

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

We simplify the life of families who suffer from the double and triple burden of childcaring, caring for the elderly and paid work. Intergenerational care improves the health conditions of elderly, emotionally as well as physically. It helps children to develop self-esteem and become familiar with the grandparents' generation. The contact between generations within families is often superficial, because more and more families are forced to be flexible and mobile in order to find work,.We want to give children and the elderly the oportunity to become kindred by choice

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

We want to provide a solution for the demographic challenge for all members of our society Independent of their cultural and financial background. We want to promote mutual caring and combine the resources of individuals, families and institutions. We want houses where children and the elderly feel wellcome and at home. Instead of seperating generations we want to bring them together.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

We already have a house where children and the elderly meet informally, participate in common events, have tasty meals together, play and share spaces. As shown in our examples formerly strange people feel now responsible for each other, share experiences, overcome lonelyness. Since people come on a regular bases it is easier to notice physical or psychological problems and find solutions.

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Experience-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on your experiences with the target group), Feedback-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on feedback from the target group without using specific methods), Self-evaluation (you used qualitative and/or quantitative methods to assess impacts), External evaluation of impacts based on qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, etc.), External evaluation of impacts based on quantitative methods (quantitative measurement of impact indicators).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Organisational structure, Information on team members, Evaluation report, Financial report, Activity report, Working method and 'theory of change'.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

.Trainig of caretakers: Our caretakers are specialized or in taking care of the elderly or children. We want to train them more intensly in becoming aware of the needs and similarities of both groups.
- We are creating a big garden at the mothercenter in Salzgitter were children and elderly participated activly in the planing. There are places to play and hide, to gather, talk and laugh, plant and harvest. It is suitable for wheelchairs.
- in the future we want to enlarge the spaces inside the mothercenter where children and the elderly are cared for

randomness