Children exercise less due to increasing poverty

“We definitely notice that in our association,” CEO Schoppema confirms. “The neighborhood in which our club is located is not wealthy. There are many families that have a minimum income. These families are the first to reduce sports activities.” According to the chairman of the board, these problems arise because payments are not made. “We have to collect more and more contributions,” Schoppema says. “We always try to talk to the parents and offer to pay them in installments. We really want to keep the youth with us, but sometimes it is very difficult. As a club, you also have to get your income.”

Non-Melesen, who is committed to sports, among other things, within the Doetinchem municipal social council, is deeply concerned about the situation and stresses that VV Doetinchem is not the only union in which this problem can be seen: “We are referring to this in more and more associations. Families are withdrawing their membership ship because Financial distress. It is only getting worse. Participation in sports is no longer available to everyone.”

The “poor worker” appears in the picture

According to Shahnaz Seliki, founder and coordinator of the Poverty-Emergency Program, the fact that families in need are increasing due to the expansion of the group: “I used to help single mothers who also had children. But the ‘poor workers’ are now coming into the picture. These are the middle class people who coexist easily in The beginning, but they can no longer manage it. Now they are also knocking on the doors of small businesses.”

“Beach and ship”

Shahnaz also hears why this group is facing extra hard times: “Since most facilities are only available to families with a net income of up to 120 percent of the social assistance standard, this group falls between two chairs.” To support poor families in the field of sports and culture, Doetinchem has developed a “participation arrangement”. Under this scheme, children and young people up to 17 years old can register if they belong to a family with an income of up to 130 percent of the social assistance standard.

Renewal order

The income requirement of 120 percent of the social assistance standard applies to persons over seventeen years of age. Once the family is registered, you get a number of points for each child, which they can then exchange for sports and cultural activities. The post arrangement looks good, but according to those involved, it needs a redesign. This is mainly due to the fact that it focuses primarily on services and not on things.

Limited options

“As a resident, you can only choose from among the options on the website,” Melissen says. “But sports apparel, for example, is not included in the package. Income requirements also make it complicated. As far as I am concerned, sports should be affordable. Everyone, including clothes, is without limits and restrictions. ”

You don’t speak Dutch

VV President Doetinchem Scholtema also acknowledges obstacles in the scheme: “We have a lot to do with parents who don’t speak Dutch. Especially they don’t know how to find their way around. The point system is too complicated, they don’t understand, and the children are the victims.”

Are ‘Sharing Arrangements’ still sufficient?

Last weekend, the food bank reported that it is expanding the criteria for people to be eligible for a food package. This raises the question of whether the sharing arrangement is still appropriate in current times, or whether it is time to revise the system.

No need to modify

According to Aldermann Jurek Huizinga, it is not necessary to amend the standard: “In Prinsjesdag, it was announced that the minimum wage will rise in 2023, and this means that the legal social minimum will also rise. This means that a larger group is within the standard and this arrangement can benefit from So we hope that everyone who is entitled to do so will come forward.”


Since this change will only be introduced in 2023, the local council member indicates that he is considering increasing the number of points per family in the short term. This way, participating families can choose more activities.

Without a signal, help is impossible

In addition to the sharing arrangement, there are other funds that people can claim. However, the most important thing is that the problem is identified early. Unfortunately, this rarely happens, because people do not report due to shame. Peter Bob Birnbaum, president of Platform Poverty Fighting Doetinchem, is calling for people to report: “Please clarify if you are having difficulty financially. Once people are on our radar, we can really help.”

Photo: REGIO8 (Not Kids Story)

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