The Solbjerg support association is based at the halfway house of the same name in Frederiksberg, which provides temporary housing for refugees who have been granted asylum in Denmark, but not yet a permanent home.
The association consists of 15-20 active senior citizens committed to integrating refugees in the neighbourhood. The association has, for example, established a weekly coffee and homework help meeting, and also supports refugees in joining sports
associations, purchasing sports equipment and participating in cultural events etc.
A small group of the active senior citizens both run a bicycle repair shop and collect second-hand furniture for refugees. VELUX FONDEN granted the project a trailer so the members do not have to hire one every time they need to transport furniture. The association’s members use their own private cars for the transports.
Seniors citizens and refugees are active together3 images
One of them, Lisbeth Lynghus, is delighted by the trailer: “The trailer is very useful. We collect furniture donated to us by charitable people and keep the items at our depot here at the housing association. When the refugees gain permanent housing, they will be able to choose their furniture, which we then transport out to their new home together.
This has turned into an integration project in itself, because our muscle power comes from Sudan, Eritrea, Syria, Somalia, Iran and Afghanistan. We work as a team and get to know each other and they pick up Danish from us in the process.
There’s no doubt that our furniture depot only works so well because we have our own trailer. We load it every Saturday and supply the furniture people have labelled with their name and address.”
Kirsten Brogaard Pedersen, one of the active senior citizens, explains: “The bicycles are donated to us on an ongoing basis. People either come by or give them to us when we’re collecting their furniture. Home-ownerassociations and building caretakers alsohave us in mind when they clear out yardsand basements. We check the bicycles inpolice records to make sure that they are notstolen. We receive a great many – almostroadworthy – bicycle donations, whichis handy because we’re not skilled bicycle mechanics.”