A new heated public space was opened in one of Budapest’s wealthiest quartiers. The mayor announced that the initiative was mainly meant for elderly residents who were struggling to heat their homes or wanted to have some company. The so-called “Marczi Nappali” is a place to warm up, not just physically but spiritually as well. This is the first such endeavour in the country.
On 10 November the mayor of District II of Budapest, Gergely Őrsi, announced the opening of a public warming place. The “Marczi Nappali” is named after Marczibányi Square, where the so-called “living room” is located. It is essentially a communal gathering place for struggling elderly people. As the district did not plan to close any of its cultural facilities, in the Marczibányi Square Community Centre they decided to open a room for the elderly.
There are many places out there where people in need can go, but this one is special. Here, the goal was to create a cosy environment for the visitors. The organisers want to entertain people with social activities and programmes so they will not feel so lonely — said Ágnes Vámos, the director of the community centre to Telex.hu. In this living room, the lonely may form friendships and seek out new experiences that will warm up both their bodies and souls.
The programmes include card game nights, crocheting or free concerts by volunteers. Some even offered to hold dance courses or organise public debates. Also, there is a chance to enter the theatre plays at the centre if there are free seats available. Or if someone feels adventurous, they can even enter the community centre’s pensioner club.
The place is not yet well-known and only a handful of people come per day. However, as the holiday season approaches, it can trigger loneliness and depression among those who do not have family or a reliable support system. The goal is to gather these people in one place so that they can even spend the holidays together, for example, if they wish so.
Technically, the living room is only open from 9 am to 3 pm. However, if the community centre only closes later at night and people want to stay for longer, they can do so. Although the place was initially meant for only the residents of District II, they welcome visitors from other districts too. In District II, the number of people in need of support is particularly high. The organisers want to gather them in one place and form a community. If people struggle to pay their utility bills or just crave some company, they can pass by and warm up a little.