Volunteer Now - News

Skip Navigation

Volunteer Now represented at CEV Conference in Croatia

05 May 2015

Spring 2015 CEV Capacity Building Conference.

Pick and Mix – A Multi-Perspective Approach to Volunteer Centres in Europe.

Volunteer Now is a member of CEV, European Volunteer Centre www.cev.be and Wendy Osborne, CEO, attended the capacity building conference in Zadar, Croatia 23 – 24 April. Approximately 70 participants from over 20 countries throughout Europe attended the event. Croatia was the host country and the two host organisations were SMART, the Association for Civil Society Development and Osijek Volunteer Centre. Over the two days a range of workshops were held looking at the role and activities of volunteer centres, these included volunteer management; child protection; engaging children and youth; quality standards for volunteer centres; volunteer centres as advocates; volunteer motivation and economic value; and online volunteering.

It was clear from engagement with participants working across volunteer centres that there were strong and positive views about the important role of volunteer centres in promoting volunteer involvement, enabling individuals to find volunteer opportunities and strengthening the capacity of volunteer involving organisations to enhance the volunteer experience and maximise the impact of their contribution. This is as true in Northern Ireland as it is in Croatia or any other part of Europe or indeed other countries in the world that have organisations committed to volunteer development. It was also clear from the various workshops that volunteer centres across Europe are part of a cycle of development with some countries having long established networks of volunteer centres and some countries just starting to see the value of a volunteering infrastructure.  At the event there were representatives from existing, new and emerging volunteer centres and we all benefited from and were energised by seeing the role and work of volunteer centres from a different perspective.

Conference participants were interested in the work of Volunteer Now particularly our capacity building training and the Investing in Volunteers standard. The history of Volunteer Now as a merger of 9 local volunteer centres and the Volunteer Development Agency is built on over 40 years experience and learning since the first volunteer centre was established in Belfast in the late 1960s. To see countries like Croatia embrace the importance of volunteering and the need for effective local infrastructure helps us to reflect on what has already been achieved and that the journey is not yet over. We do need a robust volunteering infrastructure to successfully deliver the current and future vision of the Executive’s Volunteering Strategy for Northern Ireland.

Wendy Osborne at CEV Conference, Croatia

Pictured: Wendy Osborne OBE, CEO of Volunteer Now with colleagues from Russia, Republic of Ireland and Slovakia at the CEV Conference in Croatia.

CEV logo