How to help your community if you live in Berlin

The strictest lockdown measures now seem to be behind us (and touch wood they won’t be needed again anytime soon). However, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a huge impact on the lives of people all over the world and will continue to do so for some time yet. Berlin, sadly, is no exception.

I know a common feeling during the lockdown has been one of helplessness (as well as extreme boredom, of course!). Many of us have been restricted to staying put and observing the colossal efforts of our brilliant health service and other essential workers from the comfort of our homes with no real way of contributing.

That’s why at Badi we’ve put together a list of brilliant initiatives that have been set up all over Berlin to provide much-needed help to the people that really need it. Each would be thrilled to count on your collaboration – so if you’re itching to help, read on!

Help others through the Berlin “Buergeraktiv” portal

Set up by the Senate Chancellery long before the Covid-19 pandemic, this portal provides you with numerous and varied ways in which you can help people. A great example being the upcoming Berlin Volunteer Fair due to be held online.

The fair will connect people like you, that want to help, with people that are struggling to get by. There are plenty of tasks you can volunteer for, including walking dogs, taking care of animals, doing the weekly food shop, helping with school work and providing a telephone visiting service, just to name a few.

Sound like something you want to get involved in? Great! To find out more, go to the website.

Another similar initiative that we’d like to highlight is the Berlin-based magazine “Tipp”. Visit their website for more details.

Dog walker

Volunteer your technical expertise with #WirVsVirus

This government-led hackathon came up with no fewer than 1500 innovative ideas to help better manage the crisis. The ideas are prepped and ready, now they just need to be refined and developed. If you’re a tech professional or work at a company that you think could help, this is your chance to make a huge difference in the fight against COVID-19!

Find out more on their website.

Help fight loneliness with “Silbernetz”

Are you a good listener? Or a good talker? Loneliness, especially in older people, has always been a problem, but there’s no doubt it’s been accelerated by the pandemic. It’s a free and anonymous hotline that lends a much-needed ear to people feeling lonely. You can call in and help out any time you like from 8am to 10pm.

This is perfect if you’re not in a position to make a regular or more time-intensive contribution, given that even half an hour every now and then could go a really long way to helping someone feel a little less lonely. All you need to do is call 0800 470 80 90 to get started.

Help fight loneliness with “Silbernetz”

Help people from marginalised groups at Karada House

Very similar to the first two initiatives, this is very much about bringing together people who need help and people who can and want to help. However, as a “queer collaborative art space”, the help is specifically aimed at queer individuals, women and marginalised groups in Berlin.

Love art? Support the industry with Club Quarantaene

The art industry, like many others, is really struggling. Having been in quarantine since March and without a return date in sight, exhibitions and concerts have all been cancelled. The financial toll has already been dire for the artists with the true extent of the losses still yet to be truly known.

Club Quarantine equips you with the perfect way to help while enjoying yourself lockdown-style in the process! They open their doors for free every weekend for people to enjoy a virtual DJ set. The virtual set is completely free, however, they take advantage of the crowds they draw to collect donations through their platforms. An independent jury then distributes all the proceeds evenly to various artists and clubs across Berlin. Enjoy a great DJ set and donate a little! It’ll probably still end up being much more economical than a regular Saturday night out!

Keep it local with “Corona Neighbourhood Help in Berlin”

This is all about being there for you neighbours. It’s another example of how you can make a huge difference to the lives of people that are really struggling by dedicating some of your time. Some of the simple errands you can help out with include shopping, childcare, help with schoolwork, walking the dog, trips to the pharmacy, taxiing and much more.

It’s a brilliant example of a city-wide initiative. To help out your neighbourhood, you can call the Berlin engagement number on (+49) 030 577 00 22 00. Or, find the contact details for your neighbourhood by going to the website.

“Berliner GabenZäune” – do your bit for the homeless

Otherwise known as “Gift fences”, the concept is easy. Dotted around Berlin you can find various “fences” where volunteers leave everything from food and medicine to letters of support for homeless people. A great example of how one act of kindness can quickly spread and evolve into something much bigger, the origins of the initiative are unknown.  Here is a comprehensive list of where you can find these “Gift fences”:

  • Neukoelln:
    • Herrfurthstraße, Weserstraße
    • Siegfriedstraße, Hermannstraße
    • Reuterstraße, Weserstraße (Reuterplatz)
    • Richardplatz, Schudomastraße
    • Columbiadamm,Fontanestrasse
    • Boddinplatz Ecke Mainzer Straße
    • Evangelisch-reformierte Bethlehemsgemeinde Richardstraße 97
  • Wedding:
    • Leopoldplatz Ruheplatzstraße, Schulstraße
    • U Osloer Strasse, Exit Schwedenstraße/Osloer Straße
    • U See Strasse
  • Pankow/ Prenzlauer Berg:
    • Next to Elisabethkirchstrasse
    • Place next to Anna-Louisa-Karsch-Strasse
    • Turmstrasse (between Jagowstrasse and Bochumer Strasse)
  • Kreuzberg:
    • Schönleinstraße/Zickenplatz
    • Mehringplatz
    • Kottbusser Tor (Exit U1/U8)
    • Adalbertstrasse, next to Bethaniendamm
  • Friedrichshain:
    • Wismarplatz
    • Boxhagener Platz
    • Forckenbeckplatz

That brings our list to an end. Whether it’s one of the initiatives featured in our list, or one of the many others to be found in and around Berlin, hopefully you’re feeling inspired and, most importantly, capable, to make a real difference to the lives of your fellow Berliners at a time when they really need it.