The Community Centre
While on Lesvos there is an atmosphere of departure and reminiscence, the project in Athens is starting to grow and blossom.
We have had the keys to the new Community Centre for around 5 weeks now. It is near Victoria Square in Central Athens. Entering the new building has a very different feel to what we are used to in Lesvos. As you all know, Lesvos was a wide, open space with few limitations. Our new space is a 3-floor building with a rooftop, backyard and basement, bang in the middle of the puzzling streets of Athens. Surrounded by shops, cafes, pedestrians, and cars.
This month we started to prepare the place for the opening. The whole building needs some repair and cleaning. But especially the basement, which will be our café. This space needed a lot of painting and cleaning to get it up to scratch. We’ve also started furnishing the basement. The idea is to use a lot of second-hand items or upcycle old items. We’ve gone to second-hand shops and flea markets in Athens and brought chairs and tables. We also collected wood and made more tables, benches, seating areas, and decorations. We also made lamps from upcycled metal and wood. So the basement/cafe is nearly ready to open.
For the whole building we needed to install electricity, wifi, lots of plumbing work, to set up the toilets and sinks. We haven’t finished all of it yet. We’ve now completed painting all the walls, bringing colour and warmth to the place. We have many community volunteers who are helping and supporting. So big thanks to them for helping with packing, moving and unpacking.
Support Office in Athens
Our support office in Athens also continues to be very active. The 9 volunteers who are currently on the ground supporting other NGOs are doing great work. Three of them work for Better Life with Refugees, four for Lighthouse Relief and two for Cribs Free Shop. We have also provided interpreters for Safe Place Greece and for the LightHouseRelief survey which is ongoing. Our office, which is available to various organisations, is currently used for Connection Hub and Yoga And Sports for Refugees meetings.
This month we had another gathering which was attended by about 15 people. Such meetings are always very valuable to share experiences and have a nice moment together.