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Fighting Loneliness

Publication date: 01 March 2018

Society is challenged by a growing number of ageing people that live longer and age in place. A gaining group of elderly is also living alone and not receiving support from family, friends or neighbours. The lack of supportive relationships combined with an increasing need of support leads not only to a decrease in empowerment, but also to an increase of feelings of loneliness.


Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is one of the five large universities of applied sciences in the central urban region of the Netherlands. The faculties cover a wide range of educational fields: Social Work, Financial Management, Rotterdam Business School, Communicative Management, Engineering & Applied Sciences, Built Environment, Informatics, Health Services, Willem de Kooning Art Academie. The University has a mission in connecting education and students to the city and region of Rotterdam and if possible and needed to the world. The number of students is around 34.000 and slowly growing. The university houses five Knowledge Centers in all different fields of education. Rotterdam UAS also houses two Centers of Expertise: one connected to the Harbor and one to Rotterdam South.

Educational approach

Rotterdam is an international city with a great diversity in population. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences incorporates this as much as possible in its educational approach. The main approach is therefore practice-based. Issues from the outer world are a powerful means to help students to learn how to deal with complexity in issues and find their way in disciplinary theories and knowledge. A combined focus on their ‘professional development’, ‘knowledge based’ approach and ‘critical thinking’ encourages them to become a professional in their aimed working field.

Zorgbedrijf Roeselare

Zorgbedrijf Roeselare is a company located in Roeselare, Belgium.

Our slogan is: Your Care? We have it in our fingers!

Miraculously anyway! The fingers co-operate spontaneously if they perform an operation.

We want to be as fingers. Different and yet one together. Zorgbedrijf Roeselare wants to give 'every' person in Roeselare a dignified, quality service, to ensure help and care in all phases of life.

Since January 1, 2015 all public health services of Roeselare were transferred to an independent and autonomous organization, Zorgbedrijf Roeselare. With the creation of Zorgbedrijf Roeselare the city of Roeselare and the CPAS of Roeselare forces to continue to provide a quality public care.

Zorgbedrijf Roeselare consists of:

  • Four residential rest homes (De Waterdam, De Zilverberg, Ter Berken and Sint-Henricus)
  • Three local service centers (Ten Elsberge, Schiervelde and De Zilverberg)
  • Home care service (Thuiszorg)
  • Pre and post-school child care initiatives KIDZ (KIDZ Roeselare, KIDZ Beveren, KIDZ Rumbeke and KIDZ Onthaalouders)
  • The therapeutic child care services Het Roer en De Boom.

Zorgbedrijf Roeselare started as a new large organization in our town with about 760 employees. In addition more than 300 volunteers help us every day.

The establishment of Zorgbedrijf Roeselare must ensure that all citizens of Roeselare still can enjoy an accessible care that everyone deserves. The weaker members of society, including disadvantaged and vulnerable  elderly therefore remain very aware an important target of their care services.

The organisation is strong in field work. They do not only ask people to come to their organizations, but they go more and more to the people. They try to have a good connection with the community and the neighborhood, because they believe in the power of working together.

Contact person

Laurens Deboeuf
Function: Leader Ten Elsberge
Tel nr: +32 51 27 27 11

The Region of Crete

The Region of Crete is a second grade local self-government authority of Greece offering services for the benefit of the citizens. It is a Public Law Entity”. It consists of 6 General Directorates and 36 Directorates that aim at Economic, Social and Cultural Development of the Island of Crete. It designs, plans and implements policies at regional level.

The Region of Crete has a crucial role to play in strategic planning in its territory for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth under the realm and the vision of the “Europe 2020 and beyond”. Combating poverty and social exclusion is a big priority for the Region of Crete that has been integrated  into a strategic plan  for the period 2014-2020. In the context of the strategy of combating poverty and social exclusion, co-funded by the European Social Fund, the Region of Crete implements crucial actions for social integration and protection of vulnerable groups. Regarding  "fighting loneliness", the Region of Crete has the authority to supervise all the care units of elderly (public and private) in Crete and thus the capacity to develop a direct relation with to the target group of the project. Reports are made to the central government: Ministry of Labour, Social Insurance and Solidarity,  which enables the Region of Crete to make innovative policy intervention and recommendations for fighting loneliness of elderly.

Contact person

Katerina Vlasaki
Function: Expert in Social Policy - Member of the EU Project's Working Group
Tel nr +302813400350

Nacka Municipality

Nacka is a fast growing municipality at the edge of Stockholm city, Malardal region. Nacka has just reached 100.000 citizens, of which 16, 5 % are 65 years or older.

Our service offering is characterized by efficient use of resources, strong citizen influence and great freedom of choice. Within all activities, the aim is to create the best conditions for creativity, innovation and knowledge sharing. Nacka Municipality, with the municipal districts of Boo, Fisksatra/Saltsjobaden, Island of Sickla and Alta, is Stockholm County’s third largest municipality.

In Nacka, we believe that openness creates strength, that ideas exist to be tested and that failures are an excellent opportunity for learning. We know that there is more than one answer to most needs, and that citizens are entitled to expect the best within given frameworks.

We have confidence in and respect for people's knowledge and their own abilities and for their desire to take responsibility. The key words in Nacka are Openness and Diversity which form a solid foundation for the municipality day-to-day work.

As organization, Nacka is an innovative municipality with a strong citizens’ focus. For instance, Nacka was the first municipality in Sweden to establish a customer choice system which enables the municipality’s residents to choose the providers of the services themselves, both municipal and private. At present the system comprises such services as childcare, education and care for the elderly.

The region is innovative especially in the field of preparing for the demographic change and in the field of innovative technology. There is an active network between the cities in the region.

The Municipality of Nacka constantly strives to improve its work and find the innovative solutions in order to provide better services for the citizens. The international cooperation has always been an important tool in keeping up with these aspirations.

Nacka is a member of the Edge Cities Network since 1996. Nacka is twinned with Keila in Estonia, Jelgava in Latvia, Gliwice in Poland, Pyttis in Finland, Adalar, in Turkey, Baranovichi in Belarus and Kisumu in Kenya. Nacka is also member of the ENSA, European Network of Social Authorities and the coordinator of the thematic working group elderly.

Contact person

Kerstin Seipel
Function: Developer/Physiotherapist
Tel nr: +46 8 718 86 56

The CCAS of Marseille

The CCAS of Marseille is a municipal public Body of the city of Marseille. The CCAS delivers services to address situations of precariousness or social problems affecting families, the elderly, the unemployed and persons with disabilities. The citizens of the municipality  receive advices  on social rights and are oriented towards the local partners or directly assisted. The CCAS is mainly involved in the fight against exclusion (notably food aid) and support for housing (especially the elderly and disadvantaged families).

The CCAS is chaired by the Mayor. Its board of directors is made up of local elected representative. The population of Marseille is estimated at about 860,000 inhabitants of which more than 190,000 people over the age of 60.

Since 2004, the CCAS of Marseille has been conducting a heat wave prevention campaign, which is an initiative to protect senior citizens of the city. After more than ten years of experience, the project of the CCAS of Marseilles plans to include this action against heat  in a more global approach to monitor its senior citizens during the whole year. Indeed, concentrating resources over a highly sensitive period allows  to formalize monitoring indicators and actions that can be mobilized regularly in accordance with the needs of the target groups and thus enable to plan strategies Including pension funds. The most important dimension of this operation is the fight against isolation and loneliness, a major vector of social cohesion.

The CCAS of Marseille and the City of Marseille lead the ELISAN, the European Local Inclusion and Social Action network, network of elected representatives  which will be involved in the dissemination of the recommendations of this project to policy makers.

Contact person:

Amandine Morelli
Function: In charge of health – Prevention and independent living Services for
the CCAS of the city of Marseille social Services. Member of ELISAN  Steering Committee, Head of Cabinet of the
Deputy Mayor of Marseille.
Tel nr: 0033 6 73 67 24 86

CO.GE.S. Don Lorenzo Milani Societacooperativa Sociale

Co.Ge.S is a social cooperative set up in 1994. It is a so-called mixed cooperative and therefore it carries out activities with the objective of hiring people with disabilities or residential activities for the treatment of people with problems of addictions. It is in charge of educational communities for unaccompanied minors, and socially disadvantaged groups. It is a reception center and it offers services to citizens such as refugees and asylum seekers.

Since 2004 it has been accredited by the Veneto Region for continuing education, orientation and higher education. It also provides (it is the single NGOs in the Veneto Region) for continuing medical education (ECM). The participation to the courses organized by ECM providers allow healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, psychologists, etc.) to earn credits. This profile allows to access specific funding, but especially the European Social Fund –FSE.

Co.Ge.S. benefits from private and public funding. It works closely with municipalities, local health authorities, hospitals and social-health, education and Regional Departments.

Overall Co.Ge.S has 183 employees. In particular, the department "training and labor inclusion" has 20 people employed on permanent contracts and about 30 collaborators (teachers, experts, tutors). It collaborates with Italian and European partners.

Contact person

Lisa Leonardini
Function: Vice-President and Director
Tel nr +39.0415316403


ENSA is a network of cities and European Regions  that has the aim to promote international cooperation in the social field.  ENSA was established by the Veneto Region in 1999. Since then the network has developed and supported solid partnerships between a wide range of European Regions and has carried out seminars, conferences, study visit programmes and exchanges of operators .

The co-operation between partners has brought about the opportunity to carry out several projects financed by the European Commission. ENSA represents an excellent opportunity for local and Regional Authorities to participate actively in European policy making and programmes. Collaborating with ENSA is a way to increase the dialogue with the European institutions and to become part of an international platform to implement shared projects.   Organisation: The network organises its work in five subject areas of intervention. Each has its own “thematic network”: elderly, youth and families, child issues, disability and social inclusion. The elderly working group is actively involved in this project with its leader from the Municipality of Nacka (Stockholm city, Malardal region) who is partner of the FILO project putting the fight against loneliness on top of its agenda.

Contact person

Elena Curtopassi
Function: Social Policy Officer
Tel nr +39.0415316403