Tackling loneliness seniors with Fit4Life | Enschede

ENSCHEDE – Enschede is struggling with an increasing loneliness of seniors. CVV Sparta, Saxion University of Applied Sciences and Alifa want to do something about this with activities. “We want to be more than just a football association with Sparta.”

The reason for the collaboration is the increasing loneliness among seniors in Enschede. Student Frederike Geerts says that a study by students shows that the number of people who feel lonely in the Park Stokhorst district is even higher than nationally. Fellow student Luna Beukert also notes this. “I work in the supermarket and people sometimes stay longer at the checkout to talk. There’s even a ‘slow checkout’ where customers can stay longer,” she says.

At Alifa, the problem of increasing loneliness is well known. “We see from the requests we receive from seniors and professionals that loneliness is increasing. Corona also plays a role in this,” says Leroy Veldhuis of the welfare organization.

With a minor in Fit4Life, collaborations are entered into throughout Twente. The project is based on the vision of Positive Health. “The students are working on a broad view of this,” says Jan Willem Leidekker of Saxion. “Every week a different pillar is discussed.” The aim is a structural offer of activities aimed at more exercise, a healthy lifestyle and the prevention of loneliness. In Enschede, the project is aimed at seniors.


According to Tom van Veen, association manager at CVV Sparta, which activities will be organized will depend on the results of the students’ research. “The elderly can come to the canteen for a cup of coffee, but they can also take a group walk. It depends on the needs of the seniors.”

Volunteers are needed for the activities. “We need that to help with the activities,” says Luna Beukert. “On May 12 there will be an information afternoon in the Sparta club building for the target group, but also for people who want to become a volunteer. We hope that many people will come there.”

Quick round

The cooperation between the parties was established very quickly. “We want to be more than just a football club with Sparta. I have therefore contacted Saxion for a possible collaboration. It all came around very quickly,” says Van Veen. “We facilitate the activities, but do not want to be ultimately responsible.” That’s why Alifa is involved. “We also have a lot of knowledge about seniors and ensure the connection between the target group and the students,” says Veldhuis.

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