Information about the services of the City of Helsinki
This section contains examples of the City of Helsinki’s services and activities organised by the City.
Community centres act as living rooms and meeting facilities of the residents. The main objective is to bring well-being and prevent loneliness of the residents. You may participate in various groups and happenings.
Community centres are a place for reading the newspaper or browsing the Internet and they also act as a teaching facility, resident café and a general information centre of the area. Community centres are suitable as meeting and club premises for different groups. Social Instructors offer guidance in social services. The services are free of charge for the customers.
Community centres' neighbourhood circle
Community centres' neighbourhood circles are local 'second living rooms' that are active within a certain residential area. They are originally designed for the elderly, but cooperation between generations is also possible.
Neighbourhood circles meet once a week, in the afternoons. The meetings take place in facilities within the area that are free of charge, such as the library, facilities intended for residents, or club rooms. Visitors are also welcome free of charge to the neighbourhood circle meetings.
Allowances and services for the homeless
The Homeless support unit is responsible for organising housing services for homeless adult residents, childless couples, mental health clients and for residents under the age of 65.The unit's services include housing advisory services, placement and evaluation, social work for supported living and Hietaniemenkatu service centre.
Accessibility in Helsinki city’s services
Creating an accessible and safe environment strengthens the wellbeing of the city’s residents and the overall functioning of society. The goal of Helsinki’s accessibility work is a city in which everyone can move and live with ease, regardless of age and physical condition.
Outreach local work
Outreach local work takes place on the streets, at shopping centres, at community centres and in other public spaces. This includes guidance and help for people in need of aid, and if necessary, assistance in accessing the necessary services. Local work conducts outreach work with those living outdoors as well as those not in the scope of the City’s services.
Helsinki City Library has 37 branches. Residents are also served by two library buses, which tour the parts of Helsinki with no library branch of their own. Helsinki City Library also maintains 10 institutional libraries and a home service for those who cannot reach a library by their own means.
The City of Helsinki’s cultural centres offer their services in various parts of the city with diverse programmes and cultural and artistic activities.
Playgrounds, Family houses and other play areas
In the mornings, playground instructors organise different kinds of supervised activities as well as outdoor recreational and sports events. Children and parents can use the toys and equipment available in the playgrounds. Park activities vary according to the weekly rhythm and individual profile of the area.
The Department of Early Education and Care organises instructed outdoor and indoor activities at the parks for children, families with children and preadolescents on weekdays for 7–8 hours between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. The Public Works Department takes care of the park area maintenance and the safety of the play equipment.
Children, young people, adults, older people, immigrants and special groups are offered a variety of sports opportunities, such as swimming lessons, exercise sessions and guided gym training.
At youth centres, you can practice your hobbies, see your friends, take part in courses, trips, clubs and other activities – or just hang out. Youth centres also offer help, advice and support when necessary. Young people can also take part in the planning of activities or act as assistant youth leader at the youth centres.
The service map shows the public service locations of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa and their services. The service map also shows some services by other operators.
Service and recreation centres
The services and activities of service centres are intended for retired and unemployed people. Service-centre operations include recreational and leisure activities such as manual skills, study circles and other group activities, physical exercise, programmed activities, excursions, spiritual activities, peer-group activities, volunteering, and social and health counselling.
The activities of the service centres are also intended for immigrants who are retired or unemployed residents of Helsinki. Group activities designed specifically for immigrants are offered at the service centres of Kontula, Kinapori, Myllypuro, Riistavuori, Kannelmäki and Kamppi. Immigrants can visit any service centre. There you can take part in activities that interest you, such as exercise, handicrafts, events, groups and volunteering. Service centres also provide social guidance and counselling.
Family cafés are events open to everyone held at playgrounds where you can chat and have coffee, play with your children or listen to expert presentations. Activity sessions held by playground instructors offer the chance to exercise, play and do crafts. The snacks and coffee at the family cafés are served by volunteers. Family cafés are also organised in cooperation with the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare.
Substance-free day activities
Villa Sture is a centre that offers everyday activities for everybody seeking to lead a substance-free life. Villa Sture’s operation principles are communal peer group support, customer orientation, interaction and volunteerism.
Partnership House Harjula
The City of Helsinki’s substance abuse follow-up rehabilitation unit and the peer support association Suojatie ry have been operating as equal partners at Partnership House Harjula since 2004. The values of partnership activities are abstinence from substance abuse, equality, non-violence and the maintenance of a culture of recovery.
The essential purpose of the Partnership House is to promote and maintain a substance-free lifestyle and a culture of recovery through professional, peer and partnership work. The meeting place is intended for people with a substance addiction who have decided to stop their substance abuse, as well as their loved ones.
Symppis – Kontula and Itäkeskus
Symppis is a low threshold day centre where customers can get guidance in social and health care services. The customers can eat a low-cost breakfast and have the company of adult persons in the same life situation. There is a regular weekly programme with gropu activities at the centre. The customers can read newspapers, watch tv and play billiards.
Symppis helps mental health and substance abuse customers to cope in their daily lives. The operations seek to strengthen the customers’ life management and to reduce the harm the abusement causes.
Meals at daycare centres, playgrounds and schools
Meals at daycare centres, playgrounds and schools are based on the nutrition and food recommendations for different age groups. Information is available on nutrition recommendations for children, teenagers and young adults.
The special diet guidelines also provide good basic information that can help you come up with ideas. Special diet guidelines.
You can read the information provided by Service Centre about daycare, playground and school meals.
Senior centres offer assessment and rehabilitation, day activities and long-term and short-term housing services for older people. Long-term sheltered housing is arranged in independent flats or group homes. Sheltered housing is also provided for under-65-year-olds suffering from multiple disorders.
Senior centres also offer service centre activities for retired and unemployed people. Furthermore, there are four activity centres for informal care families at the senior centres.
Social services counselling
At social services counselling, you can discuss your life situation with a professional. Social services counselling provides advice and guidance on social services, applying for benefits and subsidies and any questions related to these.
Health and Well-Being Centres
Health and Well-Being Centres provide health care and social services for the working-age population. The services will include health station, dental, psychiatric and substance abuse services, youth and adult social work and social guidance services, rehabilitation services, services for the disabled and laboratories.
Volunteering in Helsinki
Volunteer activities provide meaningful ways of spending time and having memorable experiences. Volunteering will help you meet new people outside your ordinary circle of friends and create unforgettable moments.
Community workers respond to those concerns and development needs they receive in resident meetings and through cooperation networks that are not part of the responsibilities of any particular authority. The community workers find out the magnitude of the disturbance or problem in question and whether there is an individual operator who could resolve the issue. If more than one operator is needed to resolve the issue, community work will seek out and bring together the operators who can help resolve the issue.
Through Varaamo, you can reserve public premises and equipment for your own use.