Enchanté is a citizens' initiative founded in January 2018 in Ghent.
In order to include vulnerable groups into the social structure of daily life, Enchanté connects the excluded people with businesses and citizens.
The Belgian network brings together shopkeepers and citizens who offer small services to those in need.
From a glass of water to a cup of coffee, from a haircut at a hairdresser's to a place to rest for a while.
Enchanté and the 68 shops are together working for a more inclusive community.
Commerçants du Coeur – Hartelijke Handelaars (‘Shopkeepers with a heart’) is a Brussels-based network of shopkeepers who open their doors to people who have to survive on the streets.
It was started by a small group of citizens who do voluntary work with homeless people and witnessed the needs they have: access to a toilet, being able to store your stuff safely or charge your mobile phone – and of course social needs, like a friendly word or the feeling of being welcome.
The shopkeepers of Commerçants du Coeur – Hartelijke Handelaars offer these small services which can make such a big difference. There is also a voucher system in place, so clients of (mostly) bars and restaurants can buy a drink or a meal for someone who cannot afford it.
We started out in 2020 with nine businesses in a district of the City of Brussels, and are trying to extend the initiative to other parts of town and to other volunteers and organisations willing to support it.
The Pledge was the first network to open outside of France. It was launched by Devin as one project of the nonprofit Be:Seattle.
It is a network of businesses offering anything that can help their homeless neighbours, because "small gestures make big impacts".
So far, 46 businesses have taken The Pledge offering 18 different services.
Neighbours are also welcome to take part of the Pledge by introducing new businesses or even new cities.
The Pledge is in Seattle, Tacoma and soon will be in Portland and New-York.
Le Carillon was the first network of The Chime. It was founded in November 2015 in the 11th district of Paris by Louis-Xavier Leca, a young social entrepreneur.
Le Carillon now exists in 14 french cities and counts with around a 1000 businesses who offer free services and/or products to people living in precarious conditions. These products, often a meal or a hot drink, can be prepaid by clients or by the shopkeeper.
The network Le Carillon is part of the La Cloche organisation which aims at preventing social exclusion of homeless people. This is possible by changing the way these people are perceived and how they perceive themselves.
Le Carillon chimes with an inclusive approach, that each person is encouraged to take part in the project no matter their background. For them, an essential factor to social inclusion is that beneficiaries can get involved in the formation of social bonds. Among Le Carillon's volunteers some of them have experienced or are currently experiencing life in the street. These volunteers help organise the monthly events where everyone is welcome !
CZECH REPUBLIC (Prag)
Místní místním (Locals for locals) started in 2017 in Prague initiated by Ester Pacltová and Jakub Dutka. The initiative grew into an official NGO in 2019 and encompasses cafes, restaurants, shops and cinemas opening their doors to anyone in need.
By offering small services to people without home or anyone in need, the shopkeepers participate in creating social ties. The locals can meet and support someone in need through buying them a lunch, café, clothing or a ticket to a cinema. Cooperating with various social service providers the NGO ensures that the information gets to the people in the streets.
The team includes people with the experience of homelessnes and also works with musicians and artists without home. Through music and art events, the NGO opens the topic of homelessness for the general public. Small actions can make big impacts.
UNITED KINGDOMS (London)
ReConnect was founded in 2019 in London with the idea of changing the way homeless people are perceived and making them more visible.
Local residents, passers-by, businesses and homeless people can reconnect by using a simple service exchange. That is, through a network of partners, homeless people can receive goods and simple services going from clothes, grooming and hygiene to food, water and Wi-Fi. A system of vouchers also allows locals and passers-by to help people in-need to access different services.
One of the network's core values is for the integration of homeless people. 2 of the 9 volunteers have or are still experiencing homelessness.
8 shops (Reconnectors) have decided to join the network and tackle social exclusion in London.
Reconnect is London based for now, but is willing to spread out in the country in a near future.
NEXOS is an initiative of the Solidarios association that searches for a more charitable community that all people can feel a part of.
The NEXOS community generates a network of businesses offer small services to people that find themselves in a situation of social exclusion or solitude.
Each business decides what small services to offer, for exemple, free access to a toilet in a bar, internet connection in a library or a first aid kit in a pharmacy. These are gestures that have almost no cost to the business and that express a more human coexistence in these areas.
NEXOS network is already implemented in Madrid in the areas of Chamberi and Argüelles for the moment, and is extending to other neighbourhoods.