What is a family centre? Dorothee Fischer can’t answer this question completely either. Generally speaking, a family centre is a spot for families offering counselling, activities and courses. Each family centre, funded by the Berlin Senate, is very individual, though. Dorothee Fischer contributes to this mix now – she is running the family centre at Osloer Straße (at Fabrik Osloer Straße), which was opened officially during the autumn break.
One characteristic became clear right away: Dorothee can use the well-established infrastructure and the social network of Fabrik Osloer Straße. The holiday workshop, preceding the opening ceremony, was well accepted, and the opening day itself was lively and visited by many families from the Kiez. “The biggest resource here is the fact that there has already been a lot of work done in the Kiez”, says Dorothee – she does not have to start from scratch but wants to develop the existing offers for families.
The information sheets, fresh from the press, show what Dorothee has been working on for the last couple of months: “We have regular meetings where people can arrange their spare time together, we have support offers like a social counselling further courses”, she explains. “The challenge will be to create offers for families who have struggle a lot and to also include families who don’t have these issues but are looking for a dancing class, for instance.”
Strong partners open the door to Soldiner Kiez
Dorothee wants to directly assess the needs of those who don’t search courses on their smartphones: “I want to go to playgrounds and have a chat with parents and kids.” She also wants to include the kindergarten next door, Kita Putte. This Kita is, next to Fabrik Osloer Straße, the second partner for the family centre. Dorothee, who trained as a kindergarten teacher and in social pedagogy, has already made some good contacts. A lot of the kids participating in the holiday workshop came from Kita Putte. She also wants to build bridges for the refugees living in the refugee home at Gotenburger Straße.
Some new offers have already been started as well. Every Thursday from 3:30 to 5:30 pm, for instance, a family evening is happening now in the Café at NachbarschaftsEtage. Tuesdays from 3–5 pm, a ‘Chasey-evening’ is offered there as well.
The Berlin family centres have been going for a few years now. By the end of 2013, 24 centres have been opened by the Berlin Senate. In 2014 and 2015, seven more of them are meant to be established. Mitte now has three such centres: At Fischerinsel, in Moabit, and now at Osloer Straße. In addition to that, several other family centres exist, for example at Wattstraße (Brunnenviertel), at Nauener Platz, and at Paul-Gerhardt-Stift.
Text and photos: Dominique Hensel
Translation: Daniela Hombach