Help Center: 500,000 assistance interventions in 2016

Presentation of the report by the Observatory on Disadvantage and Solidarity at Italian Stations (ONDS)

Rome, 26 September 2017

Approximately 500,000 assistance interventions were carried out in 2016 by the Help Centers, the first major project promoted by the FS Italiane Group to counteract and address social disadvantages in Italian railway stations.

Of these, around 85% (approx. 410,000) involved providing basic support services - such as showers, meals and clothing distribution - with a strong increase over 2015, witnessing the significant impact of migration flows which revolve around the stations, particularly in Southern Italy. The other 15% (about 75,000) included accompaniment and orientation interventions. The number of people who registered at the Help Center increased by 7%, and the figure of those who turned to these facilities for the first time increased (+18%), while (-2.2%) the number of regular users fell slightly. Among the users, there were about 6,000 Italians, 5,000 EU citizens and 11,000 non-EU citizens. The Help Centers totalled approximately 4,500 opening days, with 32,000 hours of activity, 46 social workers active every hour across the network and 850 volunteers.

These were the main figures contained in the Report by the Observatory on Disadvantage and Solidarity at Italian Stations (ONDS), illustrated today at the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Auditorium. The presentation, which was opened by Renato Mazzoncini Managing Director and CEO of FS Italiane, was attended by Laura Baldassarre, Rome Councillor for People, Schools and Community Support, and Roberto Pella, Vice President of ANCI.

Renato Mazzoncini emphasised that “The work done by the Help Centers is valuable not only for those who use them, but for the whole community. We reached half a million interventions in 2016, while in 2011 there were 160,000 - numbers confirming how much the action of these centres is essential for the stations and the territories in which they are placed. This model of intervention has even been taken as an example by other European rail networks, as has happened in France, Belgium and Luxembourg: we are therefore proud to class this experience as one of the most important in our corporate social responsibility projects".

The creation of value, understood as an increase in the common good, especially for those in need of help, is in full harmony with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) path that the FS Group has been following for some time.

The Help Centers are information points located within the station or surrounding areas, which guide people in difficulty to the city's social services (reception centres, therapeutic communities, and specialised associations) to draw up recovery and social reintegration plans. The Centers are run by private sector institutions, or managed directly by local authorities.