Solidarity in the train stations

Photo: Help Centers

Last update: Sustainability Report 2018

Promoted and managed in collaboration with local bodies and non-profit associations, the Help Centers are the FS Group’s answer to the growing phenomenon of social hardship and the considerable rise in migration to Europe and, in particular, Italy.

The Help Centers are meant to welcome and shelter those who are most in need and help begin their rehabilitation with the city’s social services and institutions. The Group plays a key role in this project, providing space inside or near to the station on free loan to associations and authorities engaged in combating social marginalisation and covering urgent needs so they can create the appropriate structures.

The Help Center model offers persons in need a concrete alternative to living in the station and the prospect of chronic social exclusion. At any time, they welcome centres, the countless experiences in the spaces made available free of charge in stations – all of these can be traced back to this new experimental approach to welfare. To create the Help Centers, the FS Group provides rooms inside or near to the station, on loan for use, to associations and authorities engaged in combating social marginalisation and exclusion.

The Help Center network currently extends to 18 railway stations from Northern to Southern Italy. The total surface area granted is 3,498 m² for a commercial value of €5,247 million (estimated at an average of €1,500 per m²).i.

Under an agreement between the Tuscany regional authorities and FS Italiane Group, additional help centres in LivornoMontecatini and Grosseto are being evaluated.

The Help Center network's main services

These 22,000 people were offered 101,619 support and social orientation interventions and about 417,388 low-threshold interventions (distribution of primary goods, food, clothes or blankets, basic sanitation), for a total of almost 520,000 in total.

Main Help Center indicators 

  2019 2018 2017
Total days open
7,016 4,927 4,635
Total hours open 43,791 27,546 25,614
VISITORS 301,722 142,831 192,958
Social orientations projects
98,191 95,181 74,411
Low threshold projects
408,018 347,348 361,107
TOTAL PROJECTS
506,209 441,122 456,288
TOTAL USERS 21,716 20,919 25,890
New users 13,325 13,834 13,254

Shelters

In addition to the help centres, through major Italian non-profit associations, many shelters have been set up in idle railways areas, particularly in Rome and Milan:

  • the Don Luigi Di Liegro shelter in Rome,
  • the Rifugio Caritas shelter in Milan,
  • the Binario 95 day shelter in Rome,
  • the Progetto Arca shelter in Milan,
  • the Pedro Arrupe shelter in Rome for those seeking asylum and political refugees, managed by the Centro Astalli association.

A total surface area of roughly 11,000 m² has been granted on free loan for the social activities carried out in the shelters, with a total estimated value of around €16,524,000. Overall, the total surface area granted on free loan for social activities (Help Centre and Reception Centres) corresponds to 14,514106 m², for an estimated total value of €21,771,159 million (average value of €1,500 per m²)