Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa A meeting place for the Basel community

Issue: Summer 2013
Nestling in a quiet street in the Basel district of St.Johann is Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa, one of 15 community meeting points in Basel.

According to Elisabetta Dredge, member of the association LoLa and Thomas Bächlin, manager from the Quartiertreffpunkte LoLa Basel outline, the concept is to be a convenient and friendly place in the neighbourhood where people can meet and relax. The Quartiertreffpunkte have no membership fee and openly welcome people to drop by. The benefits for visitors include the provision of important local practical information for daily life, the chance to participate in enjoyable activities, and eat with their friends in the onsite café and restaurant.

The Quartiertreffpunkte fi t in with the philosophy of Basel to be a welcoming city for all inhabitants, and to ensure that everyone in the community has access to convenient meeting points in different areas of the city. While all Quartiertreffpunkte in Basel receive financial support from the government, it is the hard work of dedicated volunteers that enables them to offer so many services and activities. At Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa, the work of the volunteers enables Elisabetta, Thomas and their colleagues to ensure that they can run a diverse programme of activities. For example, Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa's current events calendar features everything ranging from various instructional courses through to yoga, and even the opportunity to enjoy an exotic foreign meal.

As Elisabetta and Thomas explain, new ideas are always welcome at Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa and this explains why there is such a diverse range of events on offer. If someone wants to suggest an activity they are very welcome to contact the organisers and it will be considered. It is also possible to hire one of the centre's rooms for a private event. On the ground floor, the rooms can accommodate a maximum of 100 people and if required, catering can be arranged. Often the rooms are hired for lectures or seminars, but recently, Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa even hosted a wedding reception. For those interested in scheduling their own event it is best to regularly check the Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa website, as the event list is always being updated, and then contact the team with ideas. Besides events, it is also possible to hire rooms for small, private meetings.

An important and popular feature at Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa is the café and restaurant. Visitors are welcome to try the tasty vegetarian menu or just relax with friends over a coffee. The café has seating for about 90 people in the summer and 60 in winter. In addition, Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa offers two bright rooms and a children's corner with books and toys, meaning that parents are welcome to bring younger visitors with them. As wi-fi is available in the café, people can even bring their laptops. From Tuesday to Friday people have the possibility to enjoy a fantastic 3-course meal for only 14 francs (children half-price). Inan at Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa is an excellent cook and thanks to the work of additional volunteers, the centre is able to offer this special vegetarian lunch. On Friday evening Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa also offers an Indian Supper (for 10 francs) and occasionally this is followed by a concert to entertain diners.

As Thomas explains, Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa would be delighted to welcome people from the English-speaking international community, who are perhaps not familiar with the centre, to drop by and try it out. He also believes that there is the opportunity to run additional special activities based on their ideas. For example, an event based on a special national t Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa radition would be quite an interesting experience for other people visiting the centre. Similarly, many people would be interested in having a language exchange where they could assist newcomers trying to learn German in exchange for a bit of conversational help with English in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

It is clear that the team behind Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa understand the value that it can bring to the local community. As an example, Elisabetta highlights her several years of living abroad, ranging from a three-year stay in England through to some time in Africa. She says how happy she would have been at the time to have had access to a place like a Quartiertreffpunkt. When living abroad it can be challenging to meet new people in a welcoming environment. In particular, getting to know people outside your own community can be difficult.

Many people who have moved to Basel would like to get to know more the city where they have chosen to live and interact with them. Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa is clearly designed to help the local community and so whether you are young or old it is sure to offer something of interest. The centre is also always looking for volunteers, especially for its children's programmes. Currently, the Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa team is planning for its "Strassenfest" to be held on 24 August. The Strassenfest is an openair event with activities for children, food, and a concert. Therefore the team would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in helping with the day.

Further information:
Quartiertreffpunkt LoLa
Lothringerstrasse 63
4056 Basel

Full details and locations of the 15
Quartiertreffpunkte in Basel:

Photos: Faiz Kermani

Author: Faiz Kermani

Originally from the UK, I live in Alsace but work in Basel in the pharmaceutical sector. I'm also on the Basel committee of the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce. Outside the day job I have many interests. I'm part of the PR team for Centrepoint (www.centrepoint.ch) and am President of the Global Health Education Foundation (www.globalhef.org), a US-based not-for-profit healthcare charity which aims to improve healthcare in developing countries. For fun I also write children's books and have won a few awards (www.faizkermani.com)

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