Support grows for European Year of the Volunteer

Nick Cater

Volunteering England is throwing its weight behind the idea of a pan-European volunteering year being proposed in Brussels next week.

A European Year of Active Citizenship Through Volunteering is among proposals aimed at EU institutions in a Manifesto for Volunteering in Europe being launched on 28 March at the European Parliament.

The manifesto is being written by the 23-country network of the Centre Europeen du Volontariat, of which Christopher Spence, chief executive of Volunteering England, is president.

The proposed timing of a European year for 2009 or later fits well with CEV's existing Roadmap for European Volunteering to 2010, which sets priorities for the legislation, policy and investment needed for broad progress across the newly enlarged Europe.

CEV and its members are targeting both MEPs and European Commissioners to support the plan, while Volunteering England and its UK partners will lobby the 20 Cabinet ministers whose portfolios include a European dimension.

Spence said: "At the recent legacy seminar hosted by the Home Office for the Year of the Volunteer 2005, there was real enthusiasm for our suggestion that the UK should get behind this idea, offer Europe our experience from the Year of the Volunteer 2005 and use participation in a European year to apply the lessons we learned from our own year."

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