Get Connected - Volunteering and Shared Values

Volunteer Scotland is very excited to be involved in a major European project that’s exploring the impact that volunteering can have on bringing people and communities together.

The “Get Connected – Volunteering and Shared Values” project will run until April 2019 and involves four partner organisations from across four European countries:

Dublin City Volunteer Centre (Ireland)

Serve the City Brussels (Belgium)

Volonterski Centar Osijek (Croatia)

Volunteer Scotland (Scotland)

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  • What is the project about?

    This project is all about connecting with communities, finding meaningful experiences and telling personal stories. By documenting people’s volunteer journeys, we hope to gain a better insight into volunteers’ experiences and help to inspire others to get more involved in their communities.

    Our daily interactions with people around us can have a lasting effect on who we are, how we see the world and what we hold dear. Volunteering can play a big part in how people choose to spend their time, who they engage with and what issues they decide to act upon, which in turn will shape their attitudes, values and connections – with other people as well as with their direct or wider community.

    Volunteering offers an opportunity to connect on many levels by:

    • Getting involved with issues close to your heart
    • > Participating in the activities of your community
    • Taking ownership of what’s going on in your community
    • Making a difference in other people’s lives
    • Lending a helping hand
    • Showing solidarity and support for people less fortunate than yourself
    • Crossing the road – meeting people in your community, getting involved with groups you never knew existed, talking to someone that shares your passion or engaging with someone who has a completely different opinion to you
    • Re-connecting with an interest of yours, something that’s important to you and forms a part of your identity
    • Learning about other people and their lives, cultures, challenges and dreams
  • What questions are we asking?

    The project sets out to take a closer look at what impact volunteering can have on people and their feeling of connectedness with their local communities, their attitudes and their general wellbeing.

    We will raise questions like: 

    • > Do people feel more connected to their local community through volunteering?
    • > Does it encourage them to become more active citizens and get involved in issues that matter to them and those around them?
    • Can volunteering lead to more self-fulfilment and encourage solidarity with others at the same time?
    • > And, if volunteering can have an impact in relation to people’s own identity and their community’s shared values, how does this compare across the four European countries which, while similar in population size, might have quite different set-ups in terms of infrastructure and cultural approaches when it comes to volunteering?
  • What will we be doing?

    With this project, we are inviting people to “Get Connected” with their community, the people around them and their own identity through volunteering.

    Participants will be invited to take part in conversations about what’s going on in their community and what’s important to them, to get involved in volunteering and to share their personal volunteering experience to inspire others.

    The project will have a number of components and will support people to embark on their personal volunteering journeys:

    • > “Conversation Salons” in each partner country
    • > Digital Media Workshop in each partner country (to equip people with the ability to document their journeys and tell their volunteering stories)
    • > “Before and after” surveys in each partner country to research the impact of volunteering on people’s values
    • > Support to engage in volunteering activity for each participant
    • > A European Roadshow to display and share participant’s experiences at the end of the project.
  • Project Background

    Dublin City Volunteer Centre (Ireland), Serve the City Brussels (Belgium), Volonterski Centar Osijek (Croatia) and Volunteer Scotland submitted a joint grant application for this project to the European Commission’s Europe for Citizens Programme in March 2017.

    The project scored 12th place out of 361 submitted proposals and was therefore selected for funding as one of 25 projects being supported across the EU. The initiation phase of the project began in November 2017 and the project will be completed by April 2019.

  • How can I get involved?

    This project is aimed at people who are living in Scotland and who are new to volunteering.

    If you’d like to find out more about how you could become involved in this project, please contact the Project Coordinator, Margaret Starkie, at margaret.starkie@volunteerscotland.org.uk or on 01786 479593.