COVID-19 - Intrecci Cooperativa Sociale

Location: Italy

Intrecci Cooperativa Sociale is an non-profit organisation established in 2003 in Italy and operating under the umbrella of the activities undertaken by the Fondazione Caritas Ambrosiana. Their work centres around creating and managing services to support the inclusion and emancipation of those people who remain marginalised and socially-disadvantaged within society.

Intrecci has created the concept of a Solidarity Emporium: The Emporium is a pop-up food shop created to support vulnerable families. Families and individuals are free to choose the food and healthcare products available and acquire them through a pre-paid card which is provided by Intrecci. The card is loaded with points and each point corresponds to ~2.00 EUR. Cards are topped-up monthly for 6-12 months. There are currently three operational Solidarity Emporiums: one in Varese, one in Saronno and one in Garbagnate Milanese (all in the Province and Comune of Milan). Each one serves approximately 80 families (~220 individuals).

Intrecci is working with Caritas, and local community centres and helplines to indentify families for whom the NextEnergy Foundation can sponsor the cost of their pre-paid cards every month for 6 months. The initiative is beginning January 2021 as Caritas is expecting a rise in the number of people seeking financial support following the festive period and as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to continue to deepen in northern Italy.

September 2021 Update: All six cards have now been activated, and the first three cards will expire at the end of September, whilst the remaining three are valid until December 2021. To date, the cards have aided 10 adults, 8 children and 4 young adults (18-25 years). Many of the adults arrived at the Emporium without a job and part of the support provided by Intrecci, alongside running the Emporium, has been to provide financial training to the families to help them to manage their economic resources effectively and to make the most of the social support they receive. A further update on the complete support facilitated through the six pre-paid cards will be provided following the expiry of the final card at the end of December 2021.