Why are community initiatives important for a social and coherent society?

Increasingly, local communities are taking matters into their own hands and work together to develop their neighborhood or community. They strive to make people feel at home and stimulate them to contribute to this community spirit. These social entrepreneurs create innovative, enterprising and creative places where neighbors from different backgrounds can get to know each other and learn from one another. This is established in different ways: meeting places created for and by local residents, neighborhood cooperatives and community companies. DOEN is convinced that these meeting places help to build a more socially inclusive society and contribute to mutual involvement of people in the neighborhood. Are you curious to see what kind of initiatives DOEN supports? Check out these examples!

Everyone is welcome
THUIS is a versatile and unexpected meeting place in the city centre of Wageningen. Initiators Tutku Yuksel and Elsje van de Weg wanted to create more togetherness and liveliness in the city. The central theme of THUIS is ‘sharing’. Residents, (study away) students, elderly, artists, everyone is welcome. Tutku: “The door of the living room is always open. And we also offer a program of workshops and debates. It is all about creativity, sharing, and curiosity.”

Garden center De Tuinkabouter as a green meeting place
In the village ‘Oranje’ in Drenthe the greenhouses of former garden center De Tuinkabouter are transformed into a creative meeting place by and for people of the village and the surrounding area. Various activities are organized, such as musical performances, exhibitions, neighborhood dinners and workshops that ensure that different groups of people meet each other, which has an positive impact on the village.

A place where neighbors can realize their dreams together
That is Het Vogelnest in Dordrecht: a meeting place for everyone who wants to make the Vogelbuurt area a more beautiful and more creative neighborhood. Local residents meet in creative and social activities, such as cooking, gardening or sewing courses. Recently, the Vogelnest opened a coffee bar on the central square in the neighborhood, which is run by local residents. Through all these activities, the neighborhood becomes more attractive and people feel more involved with each other and with the neighborhood.

Other examples

Creative and innovative community initiatives
DOEN is always looking for innovative community initiatives where people are stimulated to contribute to the community in one way or another. This doesn’t always need to be a physical meeting place, it can also be something that enables people to meet each other.  More importantly, the initiative needs to have an entrepreneurial approach and it should be sustainable. So, a one-off project or initiative won’t be eligible. Furthermore, we love plans that are creative, innovative and original!

Applying to DOEN?
Please first read the criteria of the New Meeting Places programme. 
If you would like to find out more or have a question, send an e-mail to Alianke van de Wal, Team officer, alianke@doen.nl


Alianke van de Wal
Alianke van de Wal