Social inclusion and volunteering
Social Inclusion is a process, which assists people to participate fully in life from an economic, social and cultural perspective. The idea is that every member of society no matter their background or situation should be able to participate in the community and society and be encouraged to contribute to social and cultural life.
We believe that volunteering can play a big role in social inclusion. Volunteering is open to all people, of all backgrounds and capabilities. Volunteering allows people to give back and feel empowered, while also meeting new people and developing new skills.
European Project on Social Inclusion and Volunteering
In 2013, Volunteer Ireland and Dublin City Volunteer Centre took part in a Erasmus+ European project – Volunteering as a tool for inclusion (VTI). The project involved volunteer centres and volunteer involving organisations from eight European countries implementing a series of initiatives designed to improve social inclusion.
The project took place between August 2013 and July 2015 with the aim to share experience among partner countries on how to involve people from vulnerable groups into volunteering and to set up a framework for cooperation with different groups of vulnerable volunteers, including people with disabilities, unemployed people, older people, people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and other groups such as migrants, minority groups, etc.
As a result of the project, two documents have been created:
A toolkit on Inclusive Volunteering Recommendations for Volunteer Coordinators on How to Develop a More Inclusive Volunteer Programme and a collection of good practice examples Volunteering as a Tool for Inclusion – Good Examples that tell the stories of both volunteers and organisations that run socially inclusive programmes in all the project partner countries. Both documents aim to encourage volunteer involving organisations to embrace social inclusion and endeavour to answer potential questions of organisations that will decide to open their doors to diversity.
There are a range of guides available from volunteering organisations to help both volunteers and volunteer involving organisations to support social inclusion. Feel free to download any of the below guides.
- Volunteer Now (NI): Involving people with disabilities
- Volunteer Now (NI): Volunteering for people with disabilities
- Dublin City Volunteer Centre: Experience Counts: Volunteering amongst people aged 55 and over