The year 2011 saw the launch of the European Year of Volunteering (EYV 2011) by the European Union. A decade after the UN's Year of Volunteering, celebrated the International Year of Volunteers + 10 (IYV+10). The initiative was both a celebration and challenge.
It was a celebration of the commitment of millions of people in Europe who work in their communities during their free time without being paid – for example in schools, hospitals, and sports clubs, protecting the environment, providing social services and helping people in other countries. Their efforts and those of the many thousands of volunteering organisations make a huge difference to our lives in countless ways.
The world would be much worse off without volunteers!
The EYV 2011 was also a challenge to the three-quarters of the European population who do not do any volunteering. We wanted to let them know that they can also make a difference.
Euclid Network actively supported the EYV 2011 Alliance and Filippo Addarii, our Executive Director, was a member of the working group on the Value of Volunteering, working towards the European Policy Agenda on Volunteering, published at the end of 2011. Filippo also played an active role in ithe EU opening conference in Budapest on the 8th January 2011, giving a speech on Euclid Network's work on European funding regulation reform. His blog article about his impressions of the day is available here.
It is important to recognise the important role volunteers play in building a strong civil society, whilst understanding how this work interacts with all aspect of social development and sectors of society. As Gabriella Civico - Project Manager for the EYV 2011 Alliance - states:
“Volunteering is freely given, but not cost free – it needs and deserves targeted support from all stakeholders – volunteer organisations, government at all levels and businesses. The EYV 2011 Alliance Working group Kick off Conference and the first EU conference of EYV 2011 held on 7th and 8th of January 2011 in Budapest, Hungary will prove to be significant moments in the road towards this vision of an enabling volunteering environment including a suitable volunteering infrastructure.”
The continued enthusiasm of the voluntary sector remains evident to those in contact with the individuals and organisations involved, even throughout a period of financial uncertainty and Europe-wide changes in funding opportunities. This was highlighted by Tamara Flanagan, the Director at European & Statutory Funding for Community Service Volunteers (CSV) who commented:
“The Kick Off conference for the European Year of Volunteering was one of the most vibrant European Union events I have attended – it reflected the energy and excitement civil society organisations have sought to bring to the year. This is the year to let citizens of Europe know that they are also part of the European Project.”
To read the European Year of Volunteering 'Specification to Tender: Volunteer Management Lead', click here.
To read the European Year of Volunteering 'Specification to Tender: Opening Door to Volunteering Lead', click here.
Check out the EYV 2011 presentation video below: