Platform pairs helpers with those who need them


Anyone wanting to help their neighbours can sign up to a site that matches people in need of support like shopping, household repairs or cooking

Lend a hand

While the vast majority of Brussels residents say they are perfectly willing and able to help out a neighbour with a task, just as many would be uncomfortable asking a neighbour for help. This disparity has been duly noted by the online platform Helpper, which pairs “helpers” with “helpies” all over the country.

The Antwerp-based Helpper asked the study bureau iVox to carry out a survey among 1,000 residents in Brussels. One-third of them said they could occasionally use help, such as with simple household repairs, cooking or picking up groceries.

The bad news is that they are hesitant to ask their neighbours for help, as are respondents who said that even if they needed help very occasionally, they, too, would be hesitant to ask. The good news is that some 75% of people said they were happy to help out other people in their area.

More than six in 10 respondents said they felt there was too little help available for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and the disabled. That’s where Helpper comes in.

Anyone can sign up to be a helper or a helpie – someone who needs occasional help. Helpers are thoroughly screened and helpies are allowed to choose their own helper. They system operates all across the country.

“Brussels residents are more than ready to help their neighbours,” said Helpper CEO Francois Gerard, “but offering a helping hand appears to be much easier than asking for one. Helpper wants to bring down that barrier.” Anyone who signs up with Helpper gets paid €7 per hour for their support.

Photo courtesy Helpper