Year of Volunteering launched
Four main objectives encourage more citizens to join in and care for those in need
On 8 January, the European Commission, together with the Hungarian EU Presidency, ceremonially launched the European Year of Volunteering 2011(EYV2011), EC press office announced.
On 8 January, the European Commission, together with the Hungarian EU Presidency, ceremonially launched the European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EYV2011), EC press office announced. The event also sees the inauguration of the Hungarian stage of the EYV2011 Tour - a one-year travelling roadshow that will visit the capitals of each Member State to give volunteering organisations the opportunity to showcase their work and engage with policy makers and the general public.On the same day the Hungarian EU Presidency is also organising a conference on "Recognising the contribution of volunteering to economy, society and the individual - where are we now, and where do we want to go?" Several cultural activities accompany the launch event and the conference.To highlight volunteering efforts and encourage more citizens to join in, the European Commission kicked off 2 December the 2011 European Year of Volunteering. Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, joined by Jean-Marc Delizee, Belgium's federal Secretary of State for Social Affairs, and European Parliament Member Marian Harkin, presented the year's slogan: "Volunteer! Make a difference." "I want to pay tribute to the millions of Europeans who take the time to make our world a better place," Viviane Reding said at the ceremony. "Deep within all of us lies the ability to step up and care for those in need. Volunteering strengthens our core European values: solidarity and social cohesion. As we launch the European Year of Volunteering, I want to rally support for people who make a difference. Now is the time for us to share and to give something back, for us to focus on helping the helpers!" The 2011 European Year of Volunteering has four main objectives: lowering obstacles to volunteering in the EU; empowering volunteer organisations and improving the quality of volunteering; rewarding and recognising volunteering activities and raising awareness of the value and importance of volunteering.To meet these goals, the Commission will encourage the exchange of good practices between Member States' authorities and volunteering organisations. The focus will be on training volunteers, accreditation and quality assurance, and efficient and effective matching of potential volunteers and volunteering opportunities. The Commission will encourage new Europe-wide networking initiatives to encourage cross-border exchanges and synergies among volunteer organisations and other sectors, especially with businesses. The Commission helps young people participate in volunteering activities. Through the European Voluntary Service, thousands of adolescents and young adults travel outside their home countries to teach, promote cultural awareness and develop important life skills. For example, volunteers at a home in Copenhagen called Verahus help the disabled residents in their daily lives. They arrange leisure-time activities with the residents, such as painting, music, games, sports and accompany them on trips.