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Great willingness to help at the "Network of Warmth"

  • Wärmestube im Humboldt-Forum

    Project manager Jörge Bellin (M) puts up a Christmas tree with the help of a volunteer.

  • Ort der Wärme

    A box in the warming room in the Humboldt Forum says "Place of Warmth".

Around 140 members in just one and a half months: Numerous institutions have already joined the "Network of Warmth".

This is to provide places of warmth for people in Berlin affected by loneliness or the energy crisis, said Isabell Steiner, project coordinator of the network. "Every week, 25 institutions contact us and ask how they can participate," Steiner reported.

25.8 million euros approved in supplementary budget for the network

Recently, according to the social senate administration, open questions were clarified in an information event, for example about the assumption of procurement costs or the payment of part-time staff within the network. The network also receives more money: in the supplementary budget, the Berlin coalition of SPD, Greens and Left parties agreed on 25.8 million euros, according to a spokesperson for the social administration. Originally, 10.8 million were earmarked for the alliance.

Many participants still in the planning phase

Many providers, such as the Buch Family Centre of the Sehstern Association in Pankow, are still in the planning phase. Important questions about participation and financing have only recently been clarified, says family centre director Beate Wiersig. "In January, we want to extend the opening hours and offer hot meals and drinks as well as workshops on saving energy in everyday life." The neighbouring Albatros district centre, also part of the network, was still "in the waking up phase", as staff member Julia Scholz said. Despite participating in the network, there has not been a big rush so far.

Place of Warmth in the Humboldt Forum

Other facilities have already started operating as part of the project, such as the Place of Warmth in the Humboldt Forum run by Johanniter. "The premises are made available to us free of charge by the Humboldt Forum and the shop operator. We finance the rest through donations," explained Sanna Martzahn, spokesperson for Johanniter. The aid organisation probably does not want to apply for money from the network's pot.

Search for social participation

In the west wing of the building complex in Mitte, they offer their guests coffee, cake, donations in kind and the opportunity to read books and talk to each other. "The people who come to us are very different," explained Jörge Bellin, project manager of the Wärmestube. "We have homeless people or people who have a cold flat or are lonely and looking for social participation." From time to time, however, tourists also get lost in the warming room. They are always enthusiastic about the idea and show a high willingness to donate.

"I am very confident that this will be a success"

More than a week after opening, Bellin counts more than 30 visitors a day. He is pleased with this development and believes that in perspective there will be 40 to 60 guests per day. "I am very confident that this will be a success."

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 16 December 2022
Last updated: 16 December 2022

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