Symposium on Ermelo Power
ERMELLO – “An Ermelo community cannot be created,” says Council Member Sarath Hamstra. However, the municipality faces a major challenge. “The reason is that we have reached the limits of health care due to staffing shortages and financial challenges.” Hamstra wants to talk about positive health, which is more than just the absence of illness. “It’s about well-being and meaning.”
“We will organize a social conference on December 7,” he says. The next question is basic: What is Ermelo’s strength? The counselor knows that a lot is already happening in Ermelo. “The seminar is for all types of organizations. By getting to know each other better, we can also appreciate each other better. This is essential to start the shift towards positive health.”
The municipality of Ermelo has set four tasks. It is about growing up with opportunities, co-dependence, (un)paid work/participation and living independently at home for longer. When residents face many challenges, they are the first to act. Neighbors, friends, acquaintances and family members help each other when necessary and the municipality cooperates in this. If residents cannot find a solution in their own environment, help and support will be well organised. The solution is more important than fixed procedures. Thus, the municipality’s role shifts from primarily one of regulation and payment to that of collaborative partner.
“We believe that people should have opportunities to work, but this can also be unpaid work. There is also a group where this is not possible and participation or care is important. Hamstra stresses that lack is a reason to choose a different approach, but says firmly Even without shortages, it should be looked at this way. “The social base must be strengthened.” A graph shows that 80% of the population is well off, 10% needs short-term assistance, and 10% needs personalized services. “But 82% of our budget goes to the last 10%!” He is very supportive of the move to focus more on strengthening the front field.
A lot has already happened in Ermelo. Hamstra mentions neighborhood families, the Youth and Family Centre, the Ermelo Welfare Foundation, youth training, InterActie with lifestyle counter and the library with Boekjes en Babbels. He also mentions one of the growing problems: low literacy. “This also applies to people who receive medication and cannot read the inside leaflet. It is not just about reading skills. Our society is becoming increasingly complex.” In Ermelo, this concerns 9% of the population. In the current Dutch knowledge economy, the inability to read, write and/or count well directly affects people’s well-being. This results in lower income from work and often higher health care costs. Hamstra: “There is a taboo around this topic. But don’t forget that there is common ground between silent poverty and loneliness. There are people who avoid care.” This makes it more difficult for people who are not well-versed in the Dutch language or Dutch society to find their way in the jungle of care and support. The counselor knows that people can hide it for a long time, but when the social safety net is gone, they often get into trouble. “This has to be better!”
Written by Natalie Overkamp
Publication date: October 1, 2023