Italy is not the first place most people think of when it comes to needy and marginalised people… but LiveTwice is proud to support “Un Aiuto per la Vita”, a community centre and shop in the centre of Italy. Un Aiuto per la Vita translates as “An Aid for Life” and is in Umbria, Italy.
This warm and welcoming centre offers a friendly drop-in place for lonely elderly people to stop by for coffee and some company, as well as a toddler group to support struggling mothers and the only youth group in the town – providing an alternative for teenagers spending time on the street and in the woods where there is a growing drug culture. In 2014, the centre started popular parenting and relationship counselling, and team members also regularly visit care homes for the elderly and hospitals, as well as people in their own homes when needed.
The community centre also hosts the only charity shop in the region. Unlike the UK, charity shops are almost unheard of in Italy. This is one of very few in the whole country and certainly one of a kind in the area. Clothes are usually thrown away and the idea of recycling household goods or wearing donated or vintage clothing is rare. In this revolutionary store in the heart of the community, clothes, shoes and other items are donated, sorted and sold on at affordable prices – usually a Euro or two. The funds raised from this shop are split 50:50 – one half goes towards paying the bills, whilst the other half is carefully spent where it can be of most benefit to those in need of a helping hand. Often this means something as simple as a gift of much needed groceries for the hungry or other vital practical help for those who fall outside the safety net of welfare.
A small church service is held in the centre every Sunday and these popular gatherings offer a significantly different style of Christian fellowship than the more formal Catholic churches in the area and people from all backgrounds and walks of life are always welcomed.
Increasingly there has been growing numbers of young migrants, largely from Nigeria, who have been placed in hostels in the town by the government. This project provides clothes, shoes, hygiene products and companionship to these people. This innovative centre is always looking for ways to support those in the community, providing invaluable emotional, social and economic support.
Over the past six years, the centre has gone from strength to strength and has become such a popular focal point in the community that towards the end of 2016 the centre moved into a new building on the edge of the town. The centre is now thriving and, with a new addition of its own little kitchen, provides simple free meals to those in need. We regularly visit and monitor this project and it has been heartwarming to see it build into such a valued community addition, serving so many.
Click on the link to visit their own website for more information and details of what is on offer at the centre: Un Aiuto per la Vita
Photos above: the electrics being installed in the new centre, the games area in action and the kitchen – a room with a view!
See the difference your donation can make: