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Ikano Bolig and Ikano Bank supporting a crisis centre in Denmark

A better future together can also mean creating the possibility for a better living and life for young people, so they can focus on living. And that is the impact of Ikano Bolig’s and Ikano Bank’s support to Joannahuset, a Danish crisis centre/shelter for young people under the legal age.

Ikano Bolig helped renovate the 17th century apartment and along with Ikano Bank, they help pay the rent. IKEA has decorated and furnished the flat with 8 beds in central Copenhagen, where Joannahuset create a shelter for underaged Danes who have escaped their family homes because of physical and mental abuse and exploitation. The shelter’s warm and cozy atmosphere help the youngsters feel at home and makes it easier for social workers and volunteers to get them the support and help they truly need.

Jette Wilhelmsen. Photos all right: Donald Michael Bowie Chambers

“It matters to these youngsters that someone made an effort! That’s what they say when they come here.”

Jette Wilhelmsen Chairperson of Joannahuset

“We have bookshelves and soft pillows and they love that they can just throw themselves on the sofa. It’s homely and very unlike the office of any authority they may have sought help from. Also, the homely atmosphere helps opening up for the difficult experiences they carry with them and that we’d like to talk to them about,” says Jette Wilhelmsen.

Photos all right: Donald Michael Bowie Chambers
Photos all right: Donald Michael Bowie Chambers

Directing focus to the cause

Recently, Joannahuset was given the Tine Bryld award, a prestigious prize for their ground-breaking social work. Joannahuset is the only crisis centre/shelter for young people under the age of 18 in Denmark. Since no Danish laws cover homelessness for this age group, Joannahuset has been working to create new solutions under difficult legal circumstances. That is why winning the prize and getting the support from partners such as Ikano Bolig, Ikano Bank and IKEA is vital to Joannahuset.

“This recognition is so important – in trying to change status quo, we need it. The support and the prize help us direct the attention on and voice the need of children and youngsters in difficult circumstances. We hope to create new departures in social work in Denmark and hopefully push the boundaries for current laws. Finally, we hope to be able to open a Joannahus in more cities across Denmark,” concludes Jette Wilhelmsen.

Photos all right: Donald Michael Bowie Chambers

About Joannahuset

Joannahuset is Denmark’s only crisis centre/shelter for children and youngsters under the legal age of 18 and it is an experimental project that kicked off in August 2020 and currently runs for 3,5 years. The aim is to give rise to new thoughts on how to help children and youngsters who have suffered violence and neglect at home and or had bad experiences with the public system or residential care.

Since the opening, more than 230 children and youngsters from 34 of Denmark’s 98 municipalities have been in touch with Joannahuset. The most common problem is mental and physical abuse. About 67 % of the kids who show up at Joannahuset are girls and approximately every third child is homeless to varying extent.