Paving the way for long-term cross border cooperation

The Beltsamariter project was a cross-border cooperation project involving the ASB Schleswig-Holstein and Dansk Folkehjælp samaritan organisations. The goal was to promote volunteer work and improve the training and working conditions for volunteers in both Denmark and Germany.

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Members of both partner organisations. © ASB Heiligenhafen Members of both partner organisations. © ASB Heiligenhafen

" Our greatest achievement is the successful acquisition of new friends in both countries and the establishment of transnational cooperation between Dansk Folkehjælp and Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund. "

Stephan Andersen, Project Manager Belt-Samariter, ASB Heiligenhafen

The idea behind the three year project was to recruit and train volunteers for working in medical services, in particular helping the elderly by visiting them on a regular basis.

All volunteers were offered free language courses to help them work in their specific partner country. Intercultural skills were greatly enhanced by organised visits to the partner country. In addition, both the Danish and German volunteers received paramedic training, to help them deal with emergency medical situations. Finally, a joint visiting service was established, helping the elderly and others requiring care.

In addition, the project organised get-togethers between Danish and German senior citizens on the Baltic Sea ferry between the two states. The elderly could enjoy an afternoon with bingo playing, singing and chatting. This was seen as very important, since many of the elderly still have personal experiences from World War II.

Through the visits and training provided, the would-be volunteers learned a great deal from each other by sharing examples of best practice. New and fresh ideas for volunteering were also brought to the table.

The success of the project was sealed in August 2013 when it won the “Samaritan's Best Award” in the international category.

Despite recently finishing, the project has laid the foundations for the service to continue well in to the future. The team is also working with the private sector with the aim of securing additional funds.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project extension of the “Beltsamariter” project is EUR 557 373, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 359 962 from the Operational Programme ‘Fehmarnbelt Region’ for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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