Agnieszka Pomaska

Volunteering: your next New Year’s resolution?
28.12.2016, written by

With 2017 just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. One option could be to volunteer. Since 1996 the European Voluntary Service has enabled some 100,000 young people to volunteer in projects in and outside Europe. Watch our video to find out more and who knows, it might inspire you to take up volunteering as well!

Nearly a quarter of all Europeans aged over 15 are involved in volunteering. Yet they are mostly involved in activities for local communities and their own countries, with just 7% of activities taking place in another EU country and 11% in other parts of the world.

To encourage people to also volunteer in other countries, the European Union created its own  European Voluntary Service project as a cooperation between two or more organisations, one in the country where the volunteer lives, and another in the country where the project will be carried out.

Young people aged between 17 and 30 participate in different projects covering anything from culture, to sports, children, cultural heritage, arts, animal welfare, environment and development cooperation. Projects last between two weeks and twelve months and once they are completed, volunteers who took part receive the Youthpass certificate, which describes the project and confirms participation. The European Voluntary Service contributes to volunteers' travel and accommodation, as well as pocket money and insurance expenses.

In a resolution adopted on 27 October, MEPs called on the European Commission to enable people of any aged to take part, including people living outside the EU as well as give volunteers better legal protection and ensure better funding for projects. This could help to promote the European Voluntary Service and other volunteering programmes such as the newly-launched EU Solidarity Corps.

source: europarl.europa.eu