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It’s most seniors’ desire to live in their own homes for as long as possible. But living independently doesn’t mean ‘not needing help’. It means finding the help that allows them to keep on living in their familiar environment. Local governments are increasingly looking at the local community to provide the necessary informal care to allow just that.

Engaging the community to take care of its elderly members may be a challenge in today’s society. But especially for those without a personal support system and those who have trouble moving around, informal community care is likely the single most valuable and sustainable solution. To these people, the proximity of a caring neighbour is invaluable.

Hoplr supports local community building and citizen participation through dedicated software and a team of experts. Below, we share three ways in which we contribute to informal community care.

  1. Launching the digital neighbourhood network
    For more social cohesion, citizen participation and informal community care (+2,000 neighbourhoods in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg)
  2. Launching our Neighbourhood Concierge
    (e.g. city of Aalst)
  3. Conducting a neighbourhood analysis
    Carried out by our Knowledge Centre (e.g. Meise)

For each of these offers, we will below elaborate: What is it? How does it contribute to informal community care? How can you get started?

Launching the digital neighbourhood network

What is it?

Hoplr connects local residents with each other and with their local government.

It is a social network that is only accessible to residents of the same neighbourhood. Moreover, it is free of advertising. Neighbours receive an invitation letter and enter their digital neighbourhood. 10 to 40% of households register during the first year.

The digital neighbourhood network includes a dashboard for local governments. It provides tools for:

  • community care (find volunteers, connect community workers, etc.)
  • neighbourhood communication (post messages, alerts, and activities in one, several or all connected neighbourhoods).
  • citizen participation (launch a survey, poll, citizen budget, public participation platform, etc.)

How does it contribute to informal community care?

Once registered, local residents can quickly call on the informal network of the neighbourhood:

  • get to know each other;
  • ask for and share information;
  • exchange items (borrow, give away, share, …);
  • ask for and offer help;
  • develop ideas for the neighbourhood; and
  • organise activities and place them in the neighbourhood calendar.

Hoplr connects online in order to meet offline. Many people feel more comfortable asking a question online. Even those who are not digitally savvy can benefit from such a neighbourhood network:

  • a caring, safe and resourceful community positively impacts the entire neighbourhood, and thus all of its residents, even if they themselves are not members of Hoplr;
  • residents, informal caretakers and community workers form a bridge between Hoplr and those who do not have an account; and
  • the Neighbourhood Concierge is an excellent addition, read more below.

Today, neighbourly help is one of the most important parts of our digital neighbourhood network. We avoid labels such as ‘person in need of help’ and ‘help provider’. Everyone can help, and everyone needs help from time to time.

How (quickly) can you get started?

Book a demo about Hoplr here.

After reaching an agreement with the local government, we start with a kick-off meeting. In this meeting, we discuss the following matters:

  • Which neighbourhoods are we going to launch?
  • How will the invitation letters be distributed, and what will the letters look like?
  • What other actions will we take to get as many people registered as possible?

We have experience with over 120 local governments; you are in good hands. Count on two months from the kick-off meeting to rollout.

Launching our Neighbourhood Concierge (BCQ)

What is it?

BCQ is an initiative of Hoplr to further simplify help exchange between community members. The Neighbourhood Concierge serves as a bridge figure in the neighbourhood. He or she builds a local network of local volunteers, neighbours, and professionals.

Subscribers place their help requests by telephone or via the app. The Neighbourhood Concierge will immediately look for a verified volunteer or professional who can help. This way, even non-digital neighbours can always find reliable, local assitance. For example for:

  • Companionship
  • Grocery shopping
  • Transport
  • Chores around the house
  • Administration

Moreover, the Neighbourhood Concierge monitors the well-being of subscribers by keeping in touch with them on a regular basis.

How does it contribute to informal community care?

On the one hand, BCQ significantly increases the well-being of senior citizens. With the help of the local support network, we aim to allow seniors to live independently at home for up to three years longer.

But BCQ is for everyone. We actively develop an informal support network in the neighbourhood: a database of local residents with talents, knowledge, and experience that can be useful to everyone.

How (quickly) can you get started?

Book a demo about BCQ here (mention BCQ).

BCQ has proved successful during a test phase in a few neighbourhoods. Now we are going to collaborate with a limited number of local governments to develop the project further.

The lead time depends very much on the approach: we can appoint a Neighbourhood Concierge, or train an existing community worker to implement our method and software.

Performing a neighbourhood analysis with our Neighbourhood Scan

What is it?

Our experts have developed a method to carry out a neighbourhood analysis called the ‘Neighbourhood Scan’. We offer three formulas, including a collaborative neighbourhood scan. This comprises the following:

  • Research administrative data
  • Standard Neighbourhood Scan questionnaire
  • Representative sampling
  • Interviews
  • Workshops
  • Analysis
  • Report

We map out the strengths, challenges, opportunities, and needs of the neighbourhood. Subsequently, we enter into dialogue with the local residents to formulate some action points.

You can find more information here.

How does it contribute to informal community care?

A neighbourhood analysis is invaluable to understand where the needs of a neighbourhood lie, as well as how they can best be addressed. Moreover, the results offer a baseline to measure the impact of your actions later on.

Workshop Neighbourhood Scan in Meise

This neighbourhood analysis in collaboration with local residents positively impacts community engagement, as well. It encourages community members to tackle challenges themselves, and ultimately to strengthen community feeling.

How (quickly) can you get started?

Book a demo of the Neighbourhood Scan here (mention the Neighbourhood Scan).

After reaching an agreement, we start a kick-off meeting in which we clearly define the expectations, target groups, division of tasks, and planning.

The latter depends very much on the chosen formula. Conducting our Neighbourhood Scan usually takes two to four months.


Book an appointment with our team, and together we will explore how we can best stimulate informal community care. Request a demo here. Or, if you are looking for more inspiration, download our white paper on local community building below.

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