connect, grow & thrive.

LiLi Centre: 10 programme pillars

Back in June we celebrated three years of the LiLi Centre being open and serving as a hub for the internationally minded community of Lucerne and central Switzerland.

Many lessons were learned on the way. As any grassroot operation during this time we experienced both successes and challenges. We hope to have learned from the latter and grown stronger overall.

We have now created 10 programme pillars, each one catering to a specific demographic and/or need within the community. With these pillars clearly in mind we are aiming to reach out and help as many members in the community as possible.

Career: whether looking for a new job or change of career, we offer a variety of events and workshops in collaboration with other organisations such as JIFF or SIVO for example, as well as running a job seekers’ group.

Culture: be it theatre, music, readings or international dinners we aim to bring people from as many different backgrounds together as possible. We also aim to build the bridge to local culture by offering events explaining the traditions, customs and intricacies of Switzerland.

Ecology: The centre strives to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We run many workshops to help people lead a greener life here.

Entrepreneurship: Moving to a new country can be the chance to start a new business, we aim to help people grow their business from an idea to a start-up and then onto a company. We do this in collaboration with partners such as Business Lucerne and SSA.

Families: We know that moving a family to a new country can be a challenge which is why from our parents & tots group to our Bring your own BBQs, to specific workshops for parents we strive to help parents integrate.

Integration: Be it the Stammtisch, our various German Conversation groups or our Information Coffee Morning (which started 6 years ago), we want to help people be well informed and comfortable speaking the local language so as to integrate as soon as possible.

Kids: Kids adapt quickly or so the myth goes, but in reality it can be unsettling for children to find themselves in a place where they are the odd one out. This is why whether through kidditch, coding or theatre we aim to create an environment for everyone to thrive. The HSK lucerne english school was created specifically to help native speakers going to local schools to keep their mother tongue skills and knowledge of their home culture growing.

Mental Health: Very quickly after we opened the centre it became apparent that addressing mental health and the ensuing issues was something we needed to do. We have been blessed to have many therapists cross our doorstep, in particular Dr. Brandi Eijsermans who has helped us to develop the Mental Health Initiative and offers counselling at and outside of the centre to those in need.

Sports: Mens sana in corpore sano, a healthy mind in a healthy body. Be it yoga, boxercise, kidditch or winter swimming to name a few we offer many ways for people to meet, network and get healthy at the same time.

Volunteering: One of the best ways to integrate is through getting out there and meeting people. The LiLi Centre continues to be run entirely by volunteers and those volunteers then go on to build a network and more often than not find employment (if that is what they want). We also collaborate closely with SIVO to help people find strategic volunteer positions.

Our growth continues to be influenced by what we see as the needs of the community. As we often say: the centre is only as good as its members.

In 2018 the centre ran 126 projects, 17 000 volunteering hours kept the centre open and helped run these programme pillars  successfully.

The centre currently has 400 members from 45 nationalities and continues to grow.

Although the centre is entirely run by volunteers it still costs us CHF 80 000.- per year to keep the doors open, so every franc donated helps us to continue to be of service to the community and to grow our project.

This is why on November 2nd we will be having our fundraising gala at the Casino in Lucerne. The money raised will go towards our programmes and financing those who need financial support to be able to get the help they need.

Please join us as we celebrate, dance, sing, eat, drink and network at this memorable event! More information here.

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

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