The European Solidarity Corps, a programme run by the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, is all about helping organisations and young people to take social action to strengthen communities across Europe.
Organisations can apply for funding to involve young people aged 18 to 30 years old as volunteers in activities that address important societal issues. In turn, organisations will be helping their young volunteers to acquire useful experiences and competences for their personal, educational, civic and professional development.
The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) UK team will be providing a number of support activities over the next few months running up to the 1 October 2020 deadline, to help organisations to find out more about the programme and to submit high quality applications for funding.
Over €12 million euros has been allocated to the European Solidarity Corps in 2020 for the UK, with almost €2 million allocated for in-country activities. The next deadline to apply is 1 October 2020.
What are ESC Volunteering Projects?
Volunteering Projects allow organisations to widen their impact by hosting volunteers or sending volunteers abroad. Recruiting volunteers is made simple: the European Solidarity Corps has a ready-made system, called PASS, where you can find over 230,000 young people across Europe who have registered to find opportunities with organisations.
ESC projects provide the flexibility to meet the needs of your organisation to help you plan for the future. Here are just some of the benefits:
- project start dates can be selected between 1 January 2021 and 31 May 2021, when COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted, so you can have volunteers ready to boost your organisation’s work in 2021
- both in-country volunteers and / or cross-border volunteers can take part in your project, so you could apply for volunteers who already reside in the UK
- the ESC Portal for participants has almost 230,000 young people registered from all across Europe, who want to be involved in the Corps. Here you will be able to find the skills you need in a pool of socially minded young people with varied qualifications, who can contribute to the future of your business or organisation
- projects can last from three to 24 months, so are flexible to your organisation’s needs
- activities for volunteers can last between two weeks and 12 months, and
- individual volunteer placements or volunteering team activities are available – participants can volunteer individually or in a group of ten to 40 participants from two countries
- The funding includes several budgets to help cover majority costs, such as project management costs
Providing a range of volunteering activities for social action can enhance your organisation’s provision and community development plans and be a great opportunity for young people who want to make a difference.
The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales have received ESC volunteers to support their young people and interact with them on a number of topics and activities. Sylvie, a French national, has been volunteering with them since September 2019 and (in November 2019) explained:
‘I work with children aged five to 15 years old, and every time the experience is different. I have started to build relationships with the children, and they look out for me (at the youth centres).’
Through her volunteering experience, Sylvie can improve life chances and employment prospects through informal learning, personal development and active citizenship, for example, she is improving her English language skills.
Grant Poiner, Chief Operating Officer at The Boys’ and Girl’s Clubs of Wales commented:
‘Sylvie has become a great member of our team of workers and volunteers who are supporting youth clubs in Wales. She has played an important role in helping young people develop new skills and abilities.’
You can read more about Sylvie’s volunteering experience in English and Welsh and watch her video on the ESC stories page, which also features other beneficiaries and their projects.
Find out more
Please visit the ESC website to find out more at www.eusolidaritycorps.org.uk.
You can also watch this video which provides an overview of Volunteering Projects in under five minutes.
If you have any queries about the Programme, please email the European Solidarity Corps team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More support for applicants will be provided through interactive virtual events and one-to-one support calls, and you can follow ESC on social media and register to receive the ESC monthly e-newsletter to keep up to date.