Last week the LiLi Centre had its annual general meeting, we share our thoughts on the matter.
The Lili Centre is now well into its 3rd year of existence and it continues to grow in leaps and bounds. We are now recognised as an integration partner for a lot of international residents and companies as well as the city and canton.
Last autumn I had the honour of being invited to Potsdam to a European Integration Conference with representatives from all over Europe. It was enriching to exchange with like-minded organisations as well as show the value that an organisation such as ours can bring to the table.
Our model is unique not only in Switzerland. Our focus is to help people integrate and we do that by providing them with numerous resources but most importantly with a village, a community on which people from all walks of life and at various stages of their integration can lean on.
We, as a community, make a difference in people’s lives and that is something we can all be proud of.
Our programmes have grown in variety, we recently started a coding club for kids, an international book club is planned as well as new playgroups for example. We have lots of speakers who schedule workshops here, meaning that there truly is something for everyone. One thing that has become apparent through our interaction with our members is the need for mental health care support. We are very proud to be supporting Dr. Brandi Eijsermans with her Mental Health Initiative which is bound to make waves as it offers more solutions and resources to those who need support.
With growth comes invariably growth pains and we have had several issues that we need to address. The first one is that we continue to be run on an entirely volunteer basis, when in fact we are providing the work of 2 full time employees and 3 part time employees for free. This is not sustainable and we are working hard at finding more sources of revenue in the near future.
Financially we were dealt a blow at the beginning of this year; because of a motion put forward by the SVP party the town’s budget is currently frozen. The funding we get from them is about a third of our current budget and goes towards paying our teachers, coaches, rent, utilities etc..
This adds to the pressure for us to find funding elsewhere.
Despite all of this we remain very optimistic. We continue to be a part of the integration landscape and a vital partner for companies when it comes to helping people settle and be happy here.
Our membership continues to grow, currently close to 400 members use our premises, and we really are a home from home for many.
This year we will have a big party in June to celebrate our third anniversary as well as our brand relaunch so save the date: June 15th when we will be having a big charity gala dinner.