2.7 Social inclusion through volunteering
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While there is no supports specifically targeting young volunteers, there are supports available to all volunteers which young volunteers are also eligible for.
Volunteer Centres, managed by Volunteer Ireland (Obair Dheonach Éireann), are at the hearts of communities across Ireland, supporting, promoting and celebrating volunteering. Their work includes helping people who want to volunteer find suitable roles; providing support and advice to volunteers; and delivering training to volunteers. They also run a range of other projects dedicated to facilitating and enhancing volunteering locally.
Ireland's National Volunteering Strategy 2021-2025 acknowledges that potential benefits of volunteering include "working as part of a team" and "feeling part of a community" (page 54).
Many Irish nonprofit organisations run their own activities, such as 'Volunteer Appreciation' events, to develop teamwork and create/maintain a sense of community within their volunteers.
The European Solidarity Corps mobility programme offers young people in Europe a wide range of solidarity and community-building activities. In addition to individual volunteer placements at home and in EU Member States, the ESC also offers support for local group activities through Solidarity Projects. Solidarity Projects enable groups of 18- to 30-year-olds to implement a project idea over 2-12 months that has a positive impact on the young people's immediate region or place of residence. The project thus benefits other people and promotes a sense of community. This sense of community is also present at European level, as the young participants are part of a larger network called the European Solidarity Network EuSN. By sharing their experiences with other young people, the young volunteers stay connected to this network. The semi-state body Léargas nationally manages and promotes the European Solidarity Network within the Republic of Ireland.
Under the European Solidarity Corps programs, managed by Léargas, young people aged 18-30 years old can participate in voluntary service within non-profit organisations in Europe and neighbouring regions. This includes various fields such as the environment, social affairs, refugee work, and support for individuals with disabilities.
There are no national top-level policy measures, initiatives, or programmes that support specifically young volunteers to engage in projects that contribute to solving of societal challenges.