Through volunteering young people contribute to strengthening communities while gaining experience, skills and competences for their own personal, educational, social, civic, and professional development
Through volunteering young people contribute to strengthening communities while gaining experience, skills and competences for their
own personal, educational, social, civic, and professional development.
Volunteering will help to:
• Make a real difference in the communities that you
are volunteering for
• Open opportunities to gain new experiences and develop new skills
• Increase your employability by showing future employers that you are adaptable, brave and have life experience
• Introduce you to new friends from different countries
• Take you out of your comfort zone
• Find a sense of direction (for further study or a career)
• Become more independent
• Appreciate and better understand other cultures
The European Solidarity Corps is an EU volunteering programme that
provides support and funding for young people to spend some time
doing voluntary work in their own country or abroad in projects that
benefit communities and people.
Once you are accepted onto a European Solidarity Corps
project, all your expenses (rent, food, transport, insurance, visa
procedures, language classes) are covered by the project, and you
even get a bit of pocket money to enjoy your experience fully!
Your travel costs are also covered although there may be a
minimal contribution required.
Volunteering teams are solidarity activities allowing teams of 10 to
40 European Solidarity Corps participants from at least two different
countries to volunteer together for a period between two weeks and
two months. Such solidarity activities could especially contribute to the
inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities.
To find out more information, please go to the European Youth Portal.
Who can apply?
The minimum age to participate in a Solidarity project
is 18. The programme is open to those between 18 and
30 years. Young people can register if they are legally
resident in the EU or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway,
Turkey, or the Republic of North Macedonia, or if they
hold the nationality of third countries neighbouring the EU.
Where can I go?
Anywhere in the EU as well as many other places in the
world under the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid
Corps which however might involve a more complicated
Examples of European Solidarity Corps projects
There are a wide range of activities and organisations
to choose from e.g., animal rescue in Belgium, festivals
in Austria, working in a Youth Centre in Slovenia and
working for Human Rights in Moldova etc.
Duration of European Solidarity Corps projects
European Solidarity Corps projects can range from 2 – 12 months. However, it is also worth noting that under exceptional circumstances some projects can be completed in less than 2 months.
An advanced planning preparation visit can also be arranged for the young person and a support worker. This takes place over 1 – 2 days a month beforehand.
In some cases, volunteering activities of two weeks to two months can be put in place for young people with fewer opportunities. This type of solidarity activity will give young people the chance to take part in the daily work of organisations and perform tasks that can have a real impact.
Activities can take place either in a country other than the country of residence of the participant (cross-border) or in the country of residence.
How do I apply?
YES! You can also participate in a European Solidarity Corps project within Ireland. This could be helpful for you to build up your confidence and teamwork skills. Young people can also carry out their own projects as volunteers in Ireland – find out more HERE
Your local Eurodesk Multipliers are an excellent place to start – they are based in local Youth Information Services and have a specialised knowledge on volunteering opportunities in Europe available to young people. See the map of multipliers HERE. You can also visit European Solidarity Corps.
If in a school or FET setting, speak to your Guidance Counsellor who will be able to steer you in the right direction.
When considering your options focus on your abilities and know what supports you require to be able to participate fully in a European Solidarity Corps project.
You know your disability and abilities best – it would be useful to consider some of the supports you might need to assist you – these might include equipment, services, or strategies you use already in daily life – so you can explain these needs to any organisation that you contacts. More information
European Solidarity Corps provides young people with fewer opportunities and easy access options to help them participate. This includes tailor-made projects to suit their specific skills and qualities, as well as additional financial and other support as required to encourage them to take part in European Solidarity Corps. For more see Europe for all – Integrating young people into the European Solidarity Corps.
Young people with disabilities are encouraged to take part in European Solidarity Corps and specific supports are provided for them as part of the overall programme. Sometimes they can volunteer their time and expertise with organisations that specialise in working with or supporting other young people with disabilities.
More information can be found here EU Solidarity Corps – Inclusion Europe
There are many opportunities to volunteer in exchange for
accommodation and food that allow you to explore the country in your free time.
You can do a range of tasks, such as doing up an old cottage, helping on an organic farm, au-pairing for a family, doing maintenance work on a holiday centre, carrying out general duties in a hostel, helping in an
orphanage, being a guide for tourists, doing photography projects and much more. Examples of sites which list these opportunities are WorkAway and HelpX.
WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms – is where a volunteer works on an organic farm in exchange for accommodation and food.
Many hosts only require 4-6 hours work per day for 5 days, however this differs between hosts and depends on whether accommodation and food or just accommodation are offered. The sites listed may require a small fee for viewing all details of hosts.
Voluntary Service International (VSI) offers short and long-term volunteering opportunities and these are available worldwide. VSI also supports young people as a sending organisation for the European Solidarity Corps.
Comhlámh is an organisation that encourages, promotes and assists volunteering in overseas projects. It also campaigns for volunteer organisations to sign up to its Code of Good Practice, ensuring the safety and welfare of its volunteers.
United Nations Volunteers (UNV) has many different areas in which you can volunteer, from emergency relief to ICT.
To get a sense of what volunteering can do for you, watch the Eurodesk video on Volunteering.
Much of this information has been compiled as part of a booklet ‘Europe is Open to You!’ providing information on European opportunities for young people including studying, training, working and volunteering.
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