FAQ - Brussels helps - English version

I need/am receiving help

Anyone can ask for help because of the corona crisis:

  • It doesn't matter how old you are.
  • You are living in the Brussels-Capital Region.
  • Due to the coronavirus measures or other problems, you can't get out or are in need of contact.

Helpers are volunteers who offer their help free of charge. There's no need to pay them or give them anything. So please don't do this as giving an unsolicited gift can be the cause of an uncomfortable situation.  Follow this advice to avoid embarrassing situations. We also want to avoid these actions becoming an 'extra income' for helpers. It should be possible for anyone to ask for help.

Digital payment

Do you have access to online banking? This is the easiest and safest way to pay the helper.

  • Transfer the amount owed to the helper's account.
  • There are several digital possibilities, depending on your bank:
    • Via online banking
    • Via your bank's mobile app
    • Via Payconiq by Bancontact app
  • If you do not have access to online banking, you may wish to turn to a trusted person (child, family, friend) who is willing to transfer the amount for you via a mobile app or online banking.

Cash

Are you unable to pay digitally? You can pay with cash.

  • Put the amount due in an envelope.
  • Cash is still available at ATMs, but do not go outside if you prefer to avoid it, are ill or belong to a high-risk group.
  • Give your account number to the helper so they can pay any excess cash in the envelope back into your account.
  • Did you get change back in an envelope?  Let the envelope 'rest' until the next day as it could contain the virus. Wash your hands after opening the envelope.

With your bank card without PIN

You can give your bank card to the helper for small purchases as they won't
 need your PIN. Never give your PIN to the helper!

  • Contactless payments with your bank card without entering your PIN are only
    possible for limited amounts (max. €25 per purchase) and a cumulative
    limit of €50 (i.e. after 2 contactless payments you must use your PIN again
    for the next transaction).
  • Cumulative limits can differ from bank to bank so can potentially be higher. Confirm the limit with your own bank.
  • How do you know whether you can pay contactless? Your bank card will have a wave symbol on the front.

 Do you have payment or reimbursement problems?

  • Please contact us at brusselshelps@vgc.be. In the event of financial problems, a third party will be involved. We'll find a solution together.

What should I do?

Please contact us at brusselshelps@vgc.be and explain the problem. We'll find a solution together.

Your helper does the job you agreed they would do. Chores are not part of the agreement. In order to minimise the risk of the coronavirus spreading, we strongly recommend you do not ask your helper to come inside. 

No. It is important that the helper does not come into contact with too many people in order to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading. Fill in the form to ask for help for your acquaintance. We will look for another volunteer who can help.

No.

No.

I am a helper/volunteer

  • You're 16 or over.
  • You do not belong to any of the groups at risk, i.e. people over the age of 65 years, diabetics, people with heart, lung or kidney diseases, people with a weakened immune system, etc.
  • You're healthy and showing no symptoms, i.e. coughing, sneezing, breathing difficulties, fever, etc.

No. You are volunteering for free. Any costs (such as telephone costs and stamps) you pay yourself. Certainly do not ask or accept any compensation from the person you are helping.

You must provide your own stamp and envelope. Please note: do not lick the stamp!

You are responsible for your own telephone or internet costs.

Most telephone providers offer special discounts during the corona crisis, e.g. free calls to landlines or extra call credit. Check with your provider.

We have more volunteers than requests for help. We find out which helper is best suited to help someone, for example because you live in the same neighbourhood. Brussels helps will continue to match supply and demand as long as the corona crisis lasts and will definitely contact you as soon as someone in your area could use your help. Would you like to do more? Make sure to have a look at the website of Steunpunt Vrijwilligerswerk Brussel (Support Point for Voluntary Work Brussels). They keep an up-to-date overview of voluntary work during this corona crisis. For more info, please go to http://www.kenniscentrumwwz.be/elkaar-helpen-tijdens-de-coronacrisis.

Many thanks in advance for your help!

Digital payment

Does the person who needs your help have access to online banking? This is the easiest and safest way to pay you.

  • Give him or her your bank account number.
  • First pay in the shop or pharmacy. Keep the receipt.
  • Show the person the receipt and ask him or her to transfer the amount owed to your account.

Cash payment

If your person in need can't pay you digitally, he or she can pay you cash.

  • Accept the cash money in an envelope.
  •  
  • Give possible change back in an envelope or return it digitally.  

With bank card without PIN

The person in need can give you his or her bank card for small purchases as they won't
 need your PIN.  Never ask the person you are helping his or her PIN!

  • Contactless payments with your bank card without entering your PIN are only
    possible for limited amounts (max. €25 per purchase) and a cumulative
    limit of €50 (i.e. after 2 contactless payments you must use your PIN again
    for the next transaction).
  • Cumulative limits can differ from bank to bank so can potentially be
    higher. Confirm the limit with your own bank.
  • How do you know whether you can pay contactless? Your bank card will have a wave symbol on the front.

 Payment or reimbursement problems?

  • Please contact us at brusselshelps@vgc.be . In the event of financial problems, a third party will be involved. We'll find a solution together.

Do not accept any money or gifts. You are a volunteer. We want to prevent this from becoming an 'extra income' for helpers or that those seeking help feel obliged to give something back.

No. In principle, you should limit the number of contacts and keep a distance of 1.5 meters. If you enter several houses, you may run the risk of inadvertently bringing the coronavirus in or coming in touch with it. Explain this to the person you are helping as well.

No. Only do the tasks you agreed upon in advance. Decide for yourself what is possible and stick to the tasks mentioned on the platform. If, for example, you have signed up to go shopping and the person asking for help is now asking you to go to the post, then of course you can. Always keep a distance of 1.5 meters, do not go inside and do not do any tasks for acquaintances or neighbours of the person asking for help.

The free volunteering insurance of ‘Vlaanderen vrijwilligt (Flanders volunteers)’ also applies to the Brussels-Capital Region. It is a free basic insurance for people who volunteer, now also in the context of the corona crisis for permitted activities such as shopping and walking the dog. The insurance consists of Civil Liability, Legal Aid and Physical Accidents. Only activities between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. are insured. You'll find the basic principles here.

Please note: Are you medically trained? A nurse? Doctor? In that case, it is better to register directly for a specific reserve and corresponding insurance on the following website https://www.helpdehelpers.be.

The insurance doesn't provide a guarantee if you get infected with the coronavirus as it isn't considered an accident.
If you are already insured through your own organisation, there is no point in taking out this additional insurance.
In case of damage, the insurer will always examine the case and circumstances. Any intervention, therefore, depends on several factors.

Yes, but only if you are volunteering, not if you have only signed up. Please register via the following website www.vlaanderenvrijwilligt.be/vlaanderen-helpt.
No insurance is required for phoning, video calling, drawing or writing.

Limit the number of contacts. You're not expected to help 10 different people on your own. Fill in the form to ask for help if you know someone else who could use some help. We'll find a solution.

Don't try to solve it yourself. Please let us know by sending an email to brusselshelps@vgc.be. We will contact the appropriate organisation that will contact you or the person you are helping.

Preferably 1 person. Depending on the type of request for help and the intensity / regularity, it is possible to deviate from this rule.

Don't do it. Limit the amount of contact you have. It is not wise to come into contact with many different people during this period. Pass the request on to Brussels helps by filling in the form. We will look for another helper for that person.

The BuurtPensioen (Neighbourhood Pension) is a supervised network of neighbours who help each other in daily life. They are keen to share their expertise and support the volunteers of Brussels with advice and help.

Do you have questions such as:

  • What happens during the first meeting?
  • How do I set my limits: as a helper, you decide how often you want contact.
  • How do I handle private data?
  • How do I deal with someone who has negative thoughts, especially in these times?
  • How are people affected by the ageing process?  How can this explain certain reactions and behaviours?
  • ...

Please contact project coordinator Charlotte Hanssens by phone on +32 (0)484 48 38 33 or via e-mail at charlotte.hanssens@kenniscentrumwwz.be

Yes. Please let us know by sending an email to brusselshelps@vgc.be.

  • Please let us know and stay home.
  • Call your GP and explain your symptoms. Do not go to the doctor's surgery or A&E. Your GP will decide by means of a phone conversation whether you should stay home or go to the hospital.
  • You can still (video) call or send a letter or drawing.

No. You're not a babysitter. Limit the number of contacts you have, including with the children of the person you are helping. Going for a walk is allowed with one additional person as long as you respect the distance of 1.5 meters. Contact between children and the elderly is not recommended. Children usually do not become seriously ill from the coronavirus, but can easily spread it.

You can still travel in order to offer help, go shopping, go to the pharmacy or post office.