State Secretary Marja van Bijsterveldt launches social placement project supported by the Dutch Red Cross and Campina

17 January 2008

Together with the Dutch Red Cross and large numbers of secondary school pupils, State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, Marja van Bijsterveldt fired the starting gun to mark the launch of the Klus Contact (Job Contact) project at the Van Maerlant College in Eindhoven (the Netherlands). Klus Contact is a unique social placement project supported by the Dutch Red Cross and Campina. A declaration of intent was also signed by the Ministry of Education and the Dutch Red Cross, under which the Red Cross agrees to provide 2,500 social placements over the next few years.

Campina is at the heart of society, as demonstrated by its financial support to the Klus Contact project. Klus Contact is a unique project providing social placements, which from 2007, will be a component of secondary education. The emphasis of the project is on social contact between young and old. The job is the means, social contact is the aim.

A bridge between young and old
The project focuses on what is unfortunately an ever growing group of lonely and isolated people, who are often housebound due to a handicap or chronic illness. Via the Klus Contact project, young people will carry out everyday chores, such as mowing lawns, replacing light bulbs, playing games and collecting prescriptions. They could also help an old person with their shopping or go for a walk with them. In return they will receive study points.

Young people get about using trendy means of transport.  From 17 January 2008, old people in and around Eindhoven can ring free phone number 0800-5544335 to register a job that needs doing. “It’s a project that fits in with the fundamental principles of the Red Cross and is a pleasant way of building a bridge between young and old”, said Cees Breederveld, director of the Dutch Red Cross.

New sides to society
The Dutch Red Cross has been offering secondary school pupils the opportunity to follow a social placement programme for some time. The students are allowed to carry out voluntary work during school time, enabling them to discover new sides to society. The project means that the Red Cross is meeting Government targets. The Government wants to introduce social placements gradually over the next few years. All secondary school pupils will have to spend at least 72 hours working for the benefit of society, for example in nursing homes or at sports clubs. From 2011, all secondary school pupils will be required to complete a social placement.