Buurtschatten, Antwerp (Belgium)
This fund is designed according to the overall guidelines for Community Foundations; that is, a fund that serves a geographically defined area, is set up to address local needs, and is governed by a group of residents of the area. They are the real experts and decision-makers. The overall project is managed by Samenlevingsopbouw Antwerpen Stad.
Buurtschatten challenges residents to realize their own projects that improve the quality of life in their community. Residents indeed have a fantastic ability to enthuse others about their ideas, and the perseverance to put them into effect. Buurtschatten provides a framework and, if necessary, financial support for such ideas. In 2010, particular attention was paid to involving young people in Buurtschatten, who were encouraged, with varying success, to take their own initiatives or to cooperate in the projects of other residents.
In 2011 we focused in particular on the expansion of the project to other districts in Antwerp and on exploring ways to make the project self-sustaining. We concluded our funding of this project and we are pleased to see that it receives the recognition that it deserves.
Meanwhile, residents have continued to propose and implement their ideas to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood, including a sewing atelier, a public protest
against bus traffic in a neighborhood with many children, an art project in which children portray older people in the neighborhood, and a storytelling project about migration, including the stories of longtime residents confronted with an influx of migrants, as well as many other initiatives.