The EU has designated 2011 as the "European Year of Volunteering". In the European Union, almost 100 million citizens of all ages invest their time, talents and money to make a positive contribution to their community by volunteering in civil society organisations, youth clubs, hospitals, schools, in sport clubs, etc. For the Commission, volunteering is an active expression of civic participation which strengthens common European values such as solidarity and social cohesion. Volunteering also provides important learning opportunities, because involvement in voluntary activities can provide people with new skills and competences that can even improve their employability. This is especially important at this time of economic crisis. Volunteering plays an important role in sectors as varied and diverse as education, youth, culture, sport, environment, health, social care, consumer protection, humanitarian aid, development policy, research, equal opportunities and external relations.
Objectives of the Year:
The EU will use the Year to work towards four main objectives:
1. To create an enabling and facilitating environment for volunteering in the EU;
2. To empower volunteer organisations and improve the quality of volunteering;
3. To reward and recognise volunteering activities; and
4. To raise awareness of the value and importance of volunteering.
The Commission expects that the European Year of Volunteering will lead to an increase in volunteering
and to greater awareness of its added value, and that it will highlight the link between voluntary engagement at local level and its significance in the wider European context.
The aim is to involve all levels - European, national, regional and local, but the emphasis is very much on a bottom-up approach. In this way the ownership of the European Year shall remain as much as possible with the volunteers and the volunteer organisations.
There are many interested parties who are getting involved in the Year. The European Commission is also planning a range of activities. These include communication and awareness-raising measures (EYV Tour, EYV Relay, EYV Website, Thematic conferences).
European Year of volunteering 2011 Website: www.europa.eu/volunteering
Read the stories told by the volunteers themselves http://europa.eu/volunteering/en/my-story
- Volunteers (current and potential)
- Policy makers
- Civil society
The budgetary authority (European Parliament and Council of the EU) granted a dedicated budget for the European Year of Volunteering, as follows:
European Year of Volunteering 2011: EUR 8 million.
Preparatory actions 2010: EUR3 million
The European Commission will be working closely with two strategic partners during the Year:
National Coordinating bodies (NCBs): Each Member State has been asked to designate a National Coordinating Body (NCB) that will be responsible for the planning, coordination and organisation of events and activities in its territory during the European Year.
The National Coordinating bodies will also coordinate with Community level activities and the overall planning of the Year.
If you are interested in carrying out an activity in the framework of the European Year, please make sure you inform the National coordinating body for your country.
EYV 2011 Alliance: The European Commission will work in close cooperation with the EYV 2011 Alliance, informal network of major NGO European networks with a particular interest in volunteering who have committed to working together on the promotion, lobbying, organisation and implementation of the EYV 2011.
Together, they represent over 1500 volunteering organisations across the EU.