DOETINCHEM – More and more families are having problems getting through these months. Nationally, the Youth Fund for Sports and Culture reports that parents are the first to cut back on their children’s lessons in sports or music. This also sees President Iwan Shubima of Voetbal Vereniging Doetinchem.
“We definitely notice that in our association. The neighborhood where 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 Schoppema, these problems arise because payments are not made. “We have to do more and more collections of contributions. 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 have your income.”
‘It’s getting worse’
Jair Melisen, Head of Volunteers, Sports and Leisure at the Social Council, is very concerned about the situation and stresses that VV Doetinchem is not the only one with this problem: “We are seeing this in an increasing number of associations. Families are withdrawing their membership due to financial hardship. And 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 and Emergencies Program, the fact that the number of needy families is increasing is due to the group expanding: “I used to help single mothers with children, who were also in debt. But now the ‘poor workers’ come into the picture. These They are the middle class people who get along easily at first, but can no longer manage it. Now they are also knocking on the doors of small businesses.”
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 sports and culture, Doetinchem has developed the “Meedoen Order”. 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.
For people over the age of 17, the income requirement of 120 percent of the social assistance standard applies. Once the family is registered, you get a number of points for each child, which can then be exchanged for sports and cultural activities.
Sportswear, for example, is not included in the package
The sharing order looks good, but according to the participants, it should be redesigned. This is mainly due to the fact that it focuses primarily on services and not on items: “As a resident, you can only choose from among the options available on the website. But sportswear, for example, is not included in the package. Income requirements also make it complicated And as far as I’m concerned, sports should be accessible to everyone, clothing included. Without limits and restrictions,” says Geir Melisen.
Chairman Iwan Shubima also acknowledged 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 points system is also very complicated, they don’t understand, and the children are the victims.”
No need to set the standard
Last weekend, the food bank reported that the criteria for people to be eligible for a food package would be expanded. This raises the question of whether the post arrangement is still appropriate in current times, or whether it is time to revise the arrangement.
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 the participation arrangement can be taken advantage of. So we hope that everyone who is entitled to do so will come forward.”
Since this change will only be introduced in 2023, an alderman 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 don’t report out of disgrace, says Peter Bob Berenbaum, president of Platform Poverty Fighting Doetinchem.
He invites people to continue reporting: “Please clarify if you are having difficulty financially. Once people are on our radar, we can really help.”