01. November – 31. October
Ireland • Belgium • Denmark • Germany • Croatia
Stop Loneliness, Start volunteering
The STOP LONELINESS START VOLUNTEERING project was developed in response to increasing hardship amongst the youth due to isolation and loneliness. Volunteering offers at the very least a partial solution to this problem. The topic was chosen based on publicly available research as well as the partners’ own observations. Members of the consortium are all working in the fields of inclusive volunteering, youth volunteering and youth work for persons with fewer opportunities. The pandemic and Covid-19 related measures have caused many hardships and have hit the youth particularly hard, as many were deprived of normal schooling and social life, have had to face sickness and death of their family members. On top of that, they were expected to demonstrate solidarity and sacrifice for the benefit of them most vulnerable. Much less, if any, attention was paid by the society as a whole to what consequences the young themselves will endure. The situation was and is especially dire for the youth who have been living in poor conditions before the pandemic, for those from poor families, living in a violent environment, and those who have much less opportunities in life due to their own personal circumstances.
The main goal of our project is to raise awareness about volunteering as a possible means of preventing and alleviating social isolation of the youth and as a source of empowerment for youth organizations and organizations involving young volunteers. Our plan is to show and transfer innovative and effective practices (including digital volunteering) that could encourage the youth, particluarly youth with fewer opportunities, to get involved in volunteering. We wish to discover what the young need to start volunteering and what support they require from volunteering organizations, local communities, national and EU programmes and policies.
The following activities will be implemented in the project Stop loneliness start volunteering:
1) Research of existing practices in partner as well as other European countries in the field of youth volunteering and combatting loneliness, isolation and social exclusion. The findings will be presented in the Research and Analysis of challenges and responses of volunteering organizations.
2) We will seek out best practices in the field of combatting loneliness through volunteering in the partner and other European countries, recognize potentials of innovative practices for transfer and encouragement in other domains. We will conduct interviews with volunteers, beneficiaries and representatives of volunteer organizations (volunteer mentors, managers), record and videotape personal interest stories of young volunteers and beneficiaries. The selected examples will be presented in the Best practices compendium, accompanied by a video featuring personal experience of volunteers.
3) We will seek out and research current challenges and needs in combatting loneliness and youth volunteering. Using the world café method we will, in cooperation with several stakeholders (the young, youth mentors, youth leaders, decision-makers …) search for the future potential of youth involvement in volunteering and establishing a dialogue among various stakeholders. The findings will be presented in the on-line campaign The Voice of the Youth.
4) We will delve into the role of volunteer centres and networks in combatting loneliness among the youth and research the potential for further actions to the benefit of young volunteers and other youth, especially the young with fewer opportunities. The result will be presented in the Guidelines for volunteer centres and networks.
5) We will build on quality of inclusion and mentorship to young volunteers, providing volunteer organizations with necessary skills for successful involvement of volunteers in combatting loneliness, isolation and exclusion of the youth. We will provide a theoretical framework and tools for quality work with young volunteers to volunteer and youth organizations. The results will be presented in the Guide for volunteer organizations.
6) The previously listed activities will serve as a basis for advocacy activities, resulting in the European framework for combatting loneliness, isolation and exclusion of the youth – policy paper, which will be sent to decision-makers and other key stakeholders on local, national, regional and EU levels.
7) Additionally, we will organize 6 partner meetings in all the partner countries and 4 multiplying events. We will present the results in an interactive and participatory fashion and establish new connections and communication among organizations working in the field. Simultaneously, all partner organizations will ensure dissemination and promotion of project results via their webpages, social media, information sharing within their usual activities (trainings, events, conferences, mailing lists).
This project is funded by
network partners in this Networking