COMMUNITY CENTER VICTORIA
Always something new
During the month of May, the number of visitors to the Victoria Community Centre has increased steadily. More and more drinks are being served in our café and the atmosphere is livelier as people play games and chat.
The growing number of visitors is also related to the fact that more and more of our partner organisations are starting their offers or expanding them. One example is the opening of the Women and Kid’s space by Glocal roots – you can read more about it in the next section.
However, we are still carrying out small works to create a pleasant environment for the centre staff, but especially for our visitors. For example, an information board has been set up to make it easier to find your way around the building and to get an overview of the different services. Thanks to Fisher, now there also is a shaded area on the roof terrace, because the weather in Greece is already quite summery.
Our own office has also gotten a few beautifications: we brought some souvenirs from our community centre in Lesvos, and they now decorate this room. For example, the human chain from the farewell event, or small pieces from OHF that now hang on the wall of the community centre in Athens.
Women space opening at Victoria Community Center
On Monday 16 May, our partner organisation Glocalroots celebrated the opening of the Women’s and kids’ spaces. This made the community centre very busy in the afternoon. People played cards and had a drink in our café, but the main event took place on the second floor and on the roof terrace! Around 200 women and children were served with drinks and snacks. Many nails were painted and henna tattoos were done, the waiting lists were long. There was lots of laughter, colours, music, chatting and dancing. We would like to congratulate Glocalroots on this successful start and thank them very much! From now on, they will run the women’s space and offer various services such as dance classes, beauty days, rooftop ladies’ evenings, childcare, showers, women’s yoga, sewing or the distribution of hygiene products and nappies. We are looking forward to our further cooperation, and hope that many women and children will visit our centre from now on!
Welcome surprise packages
In order to promote the Victoria Community Center and have more visitors, part of our team goes to Victoria Square and the surrounding streets once a week to hand out flyers about the center and vouchers for a welcome package. Shortly after the first of these are distributed, the café usually fills up with people who immediately come to pick up their bags. Inside is a flyer with the centre’s offers, rice, a can of beans, a notebook, a case with writing utensils and a power bank. All visitors must report to reception on arrival at the center and give their names. At the same time they will receive two drachmas, our OHF money, which they can use to buy freshly squeezed orange juice or coffee in the café, and tea they get for free.
We hope that after their first visit to pick up their bag and after their first drink in our café, many of these visitors will look around our center, learn about the offers and come back again!
Please kindly donate via our website towards the running costs of the building and the offers we have in order to keep the community center functional for the benefit of those people. Thank you!
FREE SHOP LESVOS
Adjustments in the shop
After a rather difficult time with few customers, few donations in kind and financial uncertainty, things are looking up again now. We managed to get some donations in kind in the form of hygiene products from other organisations, so we no longer have so little in stock. In May 2022, we fulfilled 638 orders for the same number of clients and distributed 5,764 products. We also support more than 120 minors living in Iliaktida houses every month and, through the Solidarity4all organisation, about 100 very low-income local families living all over the island. We assist some Roma families too, who occasionally visit us. At the moment, the most needed products are probably toilet paper and tissues and definitely mosquito repellent; this will be an issue in the coming months. We have also made some adjustments to the food once again. As you read in the last newsletter, we could no longer afford oil due to the huge price increase. However, we realised that this was by far the most requested product, so we decided to bring oil back into the range, but to reduce the number of food items we give out in an order from 5 to 3. This has resulted in many satisfied customers who, again, leave our shop with an even bigger smile. The rest of the assortment has also been adjusted: we chose to buy big sacks of potatoes and onions in addition to the oil and prepare 1 kilo bags to give out. Our customers are happy with these products as well. This change allows us to even save a little on our budget. Nevertheless, from the financial point of view, it is still very difficult for us to run the online shop and we are still dependent on your support and donations.
Paréa Opening Event
On 5 May, our former community centre, which Europe Cares took over, was officially reopened as “Paréa Lesvos“. It was a wonderfully sunny day, with all the local partner organisations contributing to a successful celebration and a happy atmosphere. There was fresh lemonade and face painting for children; volleyball and basketball were played, there was dancing and live music; art tricks were tried… and most of all it was nice to see this place so full of life again. We, as OHF, offered a pillow workshop: Chrysa showed how you can easily make a pillow from fabric scraps or old clothes without sewing. As filling material we used fabric masks that we received as a donation, but which nobody needs at the moment. After the afternoon programme, there was a wonderful buffet with rice and chicken, fruit and drinks. After the meal, our OHF Free Shop team then organised a lottery. All visitors had received a number beforehand, so they listened attentively to the draw. Many waited tensely and excitedly to see if their number would be drawn soon. It got crowded and loud, but luckily everything stayed fair and there was a lot of laughter and cheering over the great prizes. Thanks to private individuals and other organisations, we were able to arrange more than 80 prizes in a short time. The power banks and some nice backpacks were among the most popular prizes and especially the last prize, a bicycle! Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of this event.