International Volunteer Day is held every year on 5 December to pay tribute to people who help others and encourage more to join them. Find out how the EU makes it easier to volunteer.
About 1.5 million Europeans aged between 15 and 30 are involved in volunteering, covering anything from culture, to sports, children, cultural heritage, arts, animal welfare, environment and development cooperation.
Volunteering doesn’t just help to address all sorts of social problems. It is also a great opportunity for young people to gain valuable experience and even learn new skills. The EU, well aware of this, has established programmes such as the European Voluntary Service and the European Solidarity Corps.
Most of these projects are local so the EU created the European Voluntary Service to encourage volunteers to travel and volunteer in other countries. Projects last between two weeks and twelve months and the European Voluntary Service contributes to volunteers' travel and accommodation costs, as well as provides them with pocket money and insurance expenses.
Established in December 2016, the European Solidarity Corps seeks to encourage those willing to help with crises, from natural disasters, to social exclusion, refugees and migrants issues. Projects last from two to twelve months and the EU helps to finance accommodation, food, travel, insurance and even adds a little pocket money.
In a resolution adopted in 2016, MEPs called on the European Commission to enable people of all ages to take part, including people living outside the EU and give volunteers better legal protection and ensure better funding for projects.
Sounds interesting? Watch our video to find out stories from participants!