The ‘Stop Loneliness, Start Volunteering’ project was developed as a possible solution to different types of distress among young people occurring as a consequence of isolation and loneliness due to COVID-19 restrictions. Based on research and our own observations, volunteering offers at least a partial solution to the problem.
The pandemic brought restrictive measures which exposed a lot of people to considerable amounts of stress and isolation. Youth carried a significant load, being deprived of normal schooling and social life and dealing with illness and deaths of family members. As a society, we expected solidarity and sacrifice from them for the benefit of more vulnerable groups. It was especially difficult on young people that already lived in poor conditions before the pandemic.
– Greater awareness of the importance of volunteering in preventing the social isolation of young people and empowering youth organizations and organizations involving young volunteers.
– Identify, collect, select and transfer innovative and effective practices, including digital volunteering, which can encourage young people and especially young people with fewer opportunities, to volunteer.
– Identification and awareness of the needs of young people in their involvement in volunteering activities and the need of volunteering amongst young people. Development of a methodology to prepare innovative volunteering programs and cooperation approaches, development of quality standards in the coordination and mentoring of young volunteers.
– Enhanced role and empowered national and regional volunteering centres / networks for professional support to youth and other CSO in the preparation of new volunteering programs for young people and with them also.
– Better understanding of the role of volunteering as an opportunity for personal growth, development, gaining competencies, professional development and maintaining and expanding the social network among young people.
– Advocacy of youth volunteering and volunteering support for young people at a local, national and European level.
– Raising awareness of the needs of young people and opportunities for volunteering.
The partners of this project are: FriSe (Denmark), DKolektiv (Croatia), European Volunteer Centre (Belgium), Volunteer Ireland (Ireland), Slovenska Filantropija (Slovenia) and European Playwork Association (Germany). The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.