Irish people who wish to volunteer in Europe and their own country can now apply for a programme that will help and support them.
MEPs in the European Parliament have voted to approve the EU’s new volunteering programme - the European Solidarity Corps.
Volunteering activities include helping rebuild communities devastated by earthquake or floods, supporting asylum seekers or refugees and working with those with disabilities.
The 2021 to 2027 European Solidarity Corps is worth more than one billion euro and will be a significant upgrade in the value it provides for volunteers compared with previous iterations of the programme. The new Corps features improvements to the insurance policy and health and safety guarantees covered by the programme, as well as increased requirements for hosts to ensure a meaningful learning experience for participants.
Since its launch in December 2016, there are now more than 10,000 young people active in projects since December 2016, which includes 150 from Ireland.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said: “This programme creates opportunities for young people, including those in Ireland to support communities and individuals in need. Young people across Ireland, through this fund can lend a helping hand where it is needed. They will also gain invaluable experience. They will also be supported by an established programme should they wish to undertake volunteering activities. This programme will allow people to volunteer in a structured way.”
MEP Clune welcomes the news that this year the programme has expanded and developed to allow participation of people with fewer opportunities and a higher age limit for volunteers in humanitarian aid. Also this new programme will allow people to be able to volunteer in their own country. Additional financial support and support measures, such as general and language training, insurance, and administrative assistance, will be made available to better cater for the specific needs of those with fewer opportunities.
Projects eligible for funding from the Solidarity Corps range from volunteering projects and partnerships to traineeships and jobs, in areas such as protecting European cultural heritage, fostering the social inclusion of people with fewer opportunities and tackling environmental and climate challenges.
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