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Practice of the Month: BOOT – Neighbourhood stores for education, research and talent development

A BOOT is a neighbourhood store where students from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences offer all kinds of advice and services (administrative, financial, judicial, educational, etc.) to residents of deprived neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. The involved students also organize social activities for the neighbourhood and its residents and conduct research into various socioeconomic issues.

Offering competences, skills and expertise to the neighbourhood

BOOT stands for ‘Neighbourhood store for Education, Research and Talent development’ (in Dutch: Buurtwinkel voor Onderwijs, Onderzoek en Talentontwikkeling).  BOOT has two main objectives: to organize educational projects in various neighbourhoods on the one hand, and to contribute positively to the city on the other hand. The themes that are being addressed in the stores are 1) Learning and growing up, 2) Integration and participation, 3) Economy and labour 4) Liveability and Urban Renewal.

Hundreds of students help improve neighbourhoods

In the past four years over 1.000 students have contributed to the socioeconomic position of various neighbourhoods. Some 250 students are currently assisting and providing services to over 500 residents of Amsterdam neighbourhoods every week. Whenever residents or project partners have requests or need advice, students give counsel or develop services and activities.

Students are being supervised by professionals

Professors and professionals guide and supervise the students who work in the several stores in Amsterdam. They learn to maintain their own projects independently, and are being challenged to create innovative ideas and develop an entrepreneurial mentality.The stores are basically ‘operating bases’ from which the students, their professors and other professionals offer their competences, skills and expertise to neighbourhoods and their residents.

Examples of offered services

A prime example of a service that is being offered, are the societal, legal  and  nutrition consultation hours. During these hours, students give advice to residents or organizations in the neighbourhood, to solve legal, societal or health issues they are dealing with. School and homework assistance is another successful subproject, in which students supervise and support primary school pupils, after regular school hours.



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