- The coronavirus is controlling our lives; physically, mentally and emotionally. Vital sectors are working overtime, and companies in other sectors are forced to close.
- However, a situation like this brings out the best in us. Many initiatives for helping others are being set up.
Twente has always had a lot of hidden talent and Twente is a place where things flourish; there is a lot of innovation which creates the most beautiful things. For decades and decades, people from Twente have been developing the most diverse solutions. For the textile industry, the online revolution (Takeaway.com and Booking.com were started here, for example), or for finding new energy sources. Twente is the ideal breeding ground for the development of new ideas, which are then exported worldwide. There are always many things happening and flourishing in Twente, but always under the radar. There is a lot of hidden talent in Twente.
Read the initiatives in Twente below!
Jacques Stevens organised a brainstorming session for entrepreneurs with the question: “How can we, as an entrepreneur, contribute during the Corona crisis”. Jacques is one of the founders of IDPartners, an industrial design agency from Enschede. One of the ideas that emerged during the brainstorm was collecting groceries at a central location at Kennispark. Sustainable food, in particular, is being collected, since food banks will soon be faced with shortages and people with low incomes may get into trouble as a result. “We wanted to make central arrangements with the food bank so that we do not have to do things individually. For example, entrepreneurs and employees can buy a little extra when they do their shopping and leave it here”, says Jacques Stevens. IDPartners distributed a list, made by the food bank, with groceries that are useful to take with you. They are durable items that contribute to the essentials of living. There are boxes in the IDPartners building, in which the groceries are collected. IDPartners is not alone in this. It is a collaboration with Eshuis Accountants and Advisors, KienhuisHoving and other companies at the Kennispark. The company has made its building available since many IDPartners employees are still working at the office. “It is possible here to work with a safe distance from each other. Some projects have yet to be completed, and the software is too resource-demanding to run at home”, says Jacques. Jacques and the other entrepreneurs at Kennispark plan to continue contributing in different ways.
The many international students studying at Saxion and the UT in Twente are having troubles in this uncertain time. They would like to be with family, but this is not always possible. Of the approximately 600 students at Saxion, an estimated 200 are stuck in their rooms. School and social contacts are disappearing, partly due to the closing of educational institutions and the hospitality industry. For some international students, the situation in their home countries is even worse than here. The care systems in developing countries, in particular, are under a lot of pressure due to the outbreak of the virus. Their intensive care capacity is even lower than in the Netherlands and Europe. Saxion is responding to the concerns of international students and created the Buddy Box. The Buddy Box is a shoebox with items that will help get through this time. It is mainly about offering support and comfort. A magazine, a piece of chocolate, an English book, a puzzle book or a mix for pancakes. You can also find a contact form there, with a proposal to get into contact with each other. “To cook a meal together, or an offer for an online Dutch lesson”, Renate Bik explains. Renate is an event manager in the communication department at Saxion and initiator of the project. “Some students are still panicking despite the support”, says Bik. Because of language problems, they don’t understand exactly what’s going on and face problems in their daily lives.” Saxion is also supporting in other ways. For example, Saxion lab donated much-needed face masks, gloves, and disinfecting hand gel to the hospital in Deventer.
“We, citizens of Enschede, would like to show the people in health care, social workers, and all the other people who keep our city going how valuable they are”, says Kathy van Eijkelenburg, initiator of the Facebook page “Hard-working heroes of Enschede”. Kathy and Monique Richters have set up a GoFundMe page where people can donate money for their plan. Every day, some “hard-working heroes” are randomly selected, and they are “unburdened” by getting a free meal from a local restaurant. Normally, people regularly drink or eat out. Now that this is not the case, Kathy says, this saved money can be donated to help both healthcare workers and the hospitality industry. After all, the hospitality industry is also greatly suffering from the measures. In addition, Kathy allows nominating other people that deserve to be put in the limelight on her Facebook page.
Transportation company Brookhuis Groep BV has been hit hard by the coronavirus. The company provides transport by taxi and bus and offers driving lessons, but demand has fallen dramatically since the crisis. Student transport and driving lessons have disappeared. Bus trips are not being organised, and people with disabilities hardly ever need to go to their daily activities. To make the best of a bad situation and to contribute to society, the transportation company decided to find an alternative use for their cars and drivers. For example, the company is helping food banks since many volunteers have left. The company has supported a project in Hengelo for instance, by delivering food packs to customers of the (closed) food bank there. Brookhuis is also ready to deliver medication for ZGT Almelo and Hengelo if necessary.
Mekufa from Voomshoop is donating all their FFP3 face maks, which they normally use for their production, to the ZGT in Almelo. “Just one hundred, but we hope to do our part with this. So yes, anti-hoarding is also possible!”, is what the company writes on their social media. Since 1953, Mekufa has grown into a leading manufacturer of epoxy resin insulators and parts for the high voltage industry. With its laboratory, warehouse and logistics department, the company can respond to the market needs quickly and accurately.”
Due to the Corona crisis, healthcare is struggling with major shortages of medical devices such as face masks, gloves and disinfectants. Fortunately, the TechMed Centre of the University of Twente is helping the MST. The university has delivered over 25 boxes full of these life-saving goods to the hospital. The goods have been donated on one condition: MST will take on the coordination and ensure that the items will get to where they are most needed. If push comes to shove, the UT also has two ventilation masks that the MST can use.
Are you part of the vulnerable group, or is Corona keeping you homebound? There are people in Twente who would love to help you with your groceries, walk your dog or arrange other things for you. We can help each other out in this way.
Tijmen Sissing, the famous Trashpacker from Twente, is also helping people out. He wrote an inspiring blog about it.
Various companies and organisations have their employees ready to solve shortages in other places. MBO students from the ROC van Twente are working at daycares if possible. Students who are training to be pedagogical employees can be substitutes in case of illness. In this way, daycares can continue to take care of children whose parents work in vital occupational groups. Also, the staff of the ROC van Twente are also offering to assist in healthcare in the region.
The 45 permanent employees of De Bloemenbeek prepared to offer childcare and help other organisations or people in need. The hotel restaurant is closed for at least three weeks. This also applies to the many employees of café/restaurant Nielz in Almelo. Through a message on LinkedIn, they say they are willing to do anything to help others.
Some people now have a surplus of time. Others have a surplus of food. Gerrit Lucas from Vroomshoop came up with a neighbourhood box for this. You can share food by using the pantry in Gerrit’s front garden.
Having time off is a luxury for students, but now that they have so much of it these days, these students are offering to be nannies. Often without asking for any payment!
For many, Corona provides a different weekly structure. This gives most people some extra time, and it makes them creative. Entrepreneur Jacques Stevens organised an online brainstorming session with other entrepreneurs in Twente. Through LinkedIn, he asked other entrepreneurs to think about how they can offer support together. Other initiatives to share knowledge include Moneybird, which now organises a daily “Tea-time” online. An inspiring knowledge session for and by entrepreneurs, every day at 3 p.m.
There are also many individual actions that people in Twente have set up to contribute during the Corona crisis:
- Overijssel in action;
- Mini library in Borne;
- Delivering free meals to freelancers;
- Life Science programmes at Saxion University of Applied Sciences are donating face masks and ethanol to the hospital in Deventer;
- Residents of Enschede are offering help with #coronahulp;
- Simone wants to take care of children for as long as the crisis lasts, for example, healthcare professionals’ children, so that they can focus on their jobs;
- Need help with your groceries? Enschede’s PvdA councillor Deniz Donmez is ready to come into action.
In the coming days, we will bundle all initiatives from Twente on this page. So, keep following us!