Philips volunteers help elderly with daily chores

"All our employees are allowed one day a year to volunteer," said Frank Visser, HR cluster manager Employee & Social Sustainability at Philips. "We decided in this time of corona crisis to free up all employees to volunteer in the Eindhoven region. It is important in these times that older people can ask for help from volunteers they find trustworthy. They like to know that someone from Philips is coming by to do the garden, for example, or to have a chat."

Corporate volunteering and cooperation in corona time

Housing corporation Woonbedrijf has partnered with Samen voor Eindhoven, Philips and VHE (Maatje040) to help the elderly during and after the corona crisis. The parties will make optimal use of VHE's existing network of volunteers in order to safely support people over 80 who live in rental housing owned by Woonbedrijf. Volunteers can be used for chores such as shopping, gardening and walking the dog, but also for a friendly phone call. Ingrid de Boer, general manager of Woonbedrijf, is pleased to see that the collaboration has begun. "It's fantastic that a number of Eindhoven organizations are joining forces in this way to help our residents," De Boer said.

Cooperation with higher goals
Due to the measures surrounding the coronavirus, some elderly people are unable to call on the people who previously helped them with daily chores. In this unpleasant situation, Woonbedrijf, Samen voor Eindhoven, Philips and VHE (Maatje040) come to the rescue. Woonbedrijf calls residents who are 80 years of age or older and asks them if they need help or if they would like some company on the phone. By now, Woonbedrijf has contacted approximately 800 residents by telephone. These calls are already greatly appreciated by the residents.

In the meantime, the foundation Samen voor Eindhoven has recruited volunteers at Philips. Philips gives its employees the time and space to dedicate to this initiative. The requests for help collected by Woonbedrijf are passed on to the volunteer organisation VHE (Maatje040). VHE matches the people requesting help with volunteers. What makes the partnership so special is that Woonbedrijf's roots lie in housing for Philips employees. Many of the rental houses are still occupied by former Philips employees, which can mean a connection between the old and the new generation.

Reliable volunteers in the neighborhood
Philips employees could volunteer to become call, shopping, money help or garden buddies. Many did so with enthusiasm. To ensure the safety of both volunteers and those seeking help, instructions were drawn up, in line with the advice of the RIVM. For example, the volunteers do not enter the home and never ask for the resident's debit card. Moreover, the person seeking help is assigned a volunteer who lives nearby, so that help is always close by.

Although this initiative was created during the corona crisis, this does not mean that the help will stop when the corona outbreak is under control. The volunteers are there for the long haul, even after the crisis period.