VOLPOWER Policy Recommendations: Fostering Youth Volunteering among EU Nationals and Third-Country Nationals

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Marie Lehner (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Astrid Mattes (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Ursula Reeger (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Andrea Carlà (Eurac Research)
Heidi Flarer (Eurac Research)

This document summarises policy recommendations that were developed as part of the research project VOLPOWER: Enhancing Community Building and Social Integration through Dialogue and Collaboration amongst Young Europeans and Third-Country Nationals. VOLPOWER explores the contribution of volunteering in sports and creative arts/culture associations among EU and third- country national youths (age 18-27) to interaction and processes of integration and empowerment. Funded by the AMIF (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund), the project was conducted over more than two years in seven EU geographical contexts (Austria/Vienna, Croatia/Zagreb, Scotland/Glasgow, the Netherlands/Rotterdam, Slovenia, Malta and the Italian province of South Tyrol).

These policy recommendations address crucial issues affecting youth volunteering in diversified European societies. They offer recommendations and suggestions for new services or call for the support of measures regarding the volunteering sector as well as those regarding processes of integration and community building among EU nationals and third-country national youths through volunteerism. Directed to EU institutions, member states, and politicians of all policy levels, they are elaborated specifically with reference to formal volunteering activities that take place through volunteering associations. The policy recommendations deal with three main aspects: support for volunteering associations; enhancement of youth involvement in volunteering activities, and the reduction of barriers in the volunteering sector.

The guidelines are based on six focus groups conducted with key experts and practitioners (e.g., organisers of volunteering activities, experienced volunteers, and local-level volunteering coordinators), including representatives of volunteering associations that had been partners in the VOLPOWER project. The focus groups were conducted in South Tyrol, Austria/Vienna, Croatia/Zagreb, Scotland/Glasgow, the Netherlands/Rotterdam, and Slovenia. They addressed three main areas: strategies and problems in recruiting young volunteers in general and among the population with a migrant background; challenges and tensions of volunteering in an increasingly diverse society; policy measures to support volunteering.

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