Kirsten Vreugdenhil wins 2021 1 million euro Work Innovation Award with her Zorghub initiative

Kirsten Vreugdenhil (C XI ah.4) left on the photo
By: Christine Dirkse-Vreugdenhil
Source: Vreugdeschakel
Photo: Kirsten Vreugdenhil

DELFT – Creating jobs for longtime unemployed people, the goal of the Work Innovation Award presented this year to Werkse! [loose translation: have fun at work!] by Start Foundation and Cedris in the city of Delft. The award comes with a €1 million reward. Zorghub [Carehub] is the initiative that received this year’s award, championed by Kirsten Vreugdenhil.

Better health and happiness with a job
As project coordinator Kirsten’s job is to design, create, and coordinate industry-oriented education and basic skills for candidates on benefits. “This way we try to close the gap between candidates and employers in order to give more people chances at paid work”, she says. “For me it is very important that everyone can join society, because work is such a big part of people’s health and happiness.” Kirsten works for BHAG Delft [Big Hairy Audacious Goal], a cooperative organisation of ten Delft-based companies from the social work environment who work together to achieve their goal of cutting the number of welfare recipients in half by 2023.

Social Revenue Model
The Work Innovation Award connects the creation of paid work for people with lower chances to current social challenges. There were 62 social companies in the running for the award who’d de-signed a plan to tackle the problem. Ten of those were selected to write a business plan. ‘Zorghub’ stood out with a very well written social revenue model. “Organisations can take out a subscription to Zorghub for supporting tasks”, Kirsten tells. “For example: assistance within the home and garden, transport to and from hospital or social activities. Healthcare professionals are swamped with work as it is and don’t have time for this, nor is it an easy task to recruit more staff. The number of volunteers is also falling short. With Zorghub we’ve connected those challenges. Since it started we’ve been able to provide fifty people with such a care-related job.”

Feeling useful
Kirsten loves her job. “It’s truly amazing to see how our candidates change once they’ve got a job and feel useful again, for themselves and the community. Even during their education you see them grow and regain a goal in life. That’s why I’m doing this!”