The Concept for a self-organized, neighborly support structure in Jena South

published on 15 March 2020


Who are we?

We are a group of people who, in view of the worrying developments surrounding the Corona virus, want to build a support structure for the neighborhood in Jena South. Some of us are active in the Magdelstube, others in the initiative for a democratic cooperative. Together we have developed a concept that can be spread and implemented beyond our district.

The Corona state of emergency hits some of us harder!

The spread of the corona virus (SARS CoV2) is increasingly leading to a state of emergency in Germany, too. And it seem to affect us for a longer time. The current restrictions are particularly severe for people from risk groups (advanced age, immunodeficiency, pre-existing conditions). Moreover, the risk group should not leave their own homes and avoid contact with other people in order to protect themselves from infection. Furthermore, the closure of childcare centres and schools makes the care of one’s own children a challenge for all those, who have to continue working. Due to current developments, many precariously employed people may be without a job and income in the coming period.

In this situation, practical neighbourly solidarity is needed!

We must contribute to the protection of the particularly vulnerable groups of people and help all those who, in the current situation, find themselves in need and under enormous strain. In order to prevent further transmission of the disease, this can mean, avoiding social contacts, especially when symptoms are already present. In addition, it is also necessary to develop collective action strategies within neighborhoods, which counteract the trend of hamster purchases and individual isolation.

We can and should do the following:
– Help people from risk groups with shopping and pharmacy visits
– relieve families dependent on wage labour of the burden of childcare
– be responsive and disseminate secure and up-to-date information


We have developed the following concept for the neighborhood in Jena South:

1. In the next few days we will distribute information sheets for hanging up in the corridors/houses (German/English) in the whole district. They can be used in order to organize support within the house, so that one can leave support offers and contact details. They also contain information on the support structure in Jena South.

2. We will set up a central “support” phone number (01774748840), where we will be available daily from 9am-7pm, from Tuesday, March 17th on, to receive support requests from the neighborhood. We will then forward these requests to a pool of supporters and volunteers or directly to people who are eligible for support, e.g. due to their nearby residence or time capacities.

All people who would like to offer their help can contact us by mail ( or also during telephone hours and will be added to a database which we manage via a cloud.

If there is a need for further exchange, we will also set up two telegram groups (one for childcare and one for support of risk groups and people in quarantine) where supporters can exchange information.

In case of a support request we (i.e. the person on shift) will try to find a person in our database via the supporter pool, who will then take over a kind of “sponsorship” for the requesting person or family for the coming time. This way we can keep the extent of social contacts as low as possible.

3. we are planning to set up another “contact” telephone number in consultation with other initiatives, where people who are looking for a conversation, e.g. because of insecurity or loneliness due to isolation, can contact us. The increasing domestic violence during the quarantine could also be a reason to use this number. There is a conversation guide and a list with all emergency numbers and serious sources of information (Health Office, Robert Koch Institute etc.). Important: We do not make any diagnoses ourselves, we do not give any medical recommendations! We can only refer to professional help!

4. In the window and on the Magdelstube website ( we provide information about the support structure and also call for decentralized solidarity-based post-support. There you can also find the telephone numbers, our email address, as well as further information.

5. Furthermore we create a district telegram group for all who want to network in Jena South and exchange information about possible pastimes during quarantine or social withdrawal.

6 An additional way of helping people from the district who are now in financial difficulties could be to set up a solidarity fund. We will also discuss this idea soon.


Advice on how to help with shopping (recommended by the health department)

  • Wear gloves and disinfect hands before and after shopping
  • Stick to usual hygiene regulations: Cough and sneeze in the crook of your arm, wash your hands regularly, avoid hand contact with your face
  • No direct contact with the person handing over the goods: do not hand over the goods, but place them at a place agreed upon
  • Money: receive the money in an envelope (with the name and amount written on it), open the envelope at the cash desk and put the contents into the cashier, put the change and receipt back into the envelope

Advice on childcare support

  • We want to convey “sponsorships” and not create self-organized childcare centers, where many children come together at once. This would contradict the principle of avoiding contact.
  • Supporters can give us information about their time differences as well as whether they have experiences with caring for children or children themselves, which age groups they prefer to look after, etc. This helps us to find the right person for the incoming support requests.
  • In the case of older children who may already be home alone, it is also possible that one person can be reached by phone only in case of an emergency, while the parents/caretakers go to work.
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