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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.1 General principles

Last update: 22 January 2021
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  1. LAST MODIFIED ON: 12/08/2020 - 11:51

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  2. Historical developments
  3. Main concepts
  4. both formal volunteering (carried out with, or under the auspices of an organisation/group) and informal volunteering (carried out outside the organisation, often at neighbourhood level but outside, or in addition to, the immediate family). It comprises the widest spectrum of activity for example, community development, arts, sport, faith based, education, neighbourliness, youth, environmental, health and direct care.


    This chapter concentrates on those opportunities directly funded and promoted by the Northern Ireland Government. 

    Historical developments

    In Northern Ireland, there is a strong history and ethos of volunteering. Volunteering underpins much of community life and the services which benefit people. The 2012 volunteering strategy (see below) estimated that over 280,000 people regularly give time to formal volunteering in Northern Ireland.



    Main concepts

    Join In, Get Involved: Build a Better Future: the Volunteering Strategy for Northern Ireland (2012) is the all-age volunteering strategy drawn up by the Department for Social Development (since May 2016, the Department for Communities). It defines volunteering as:

    the commitment of time and energy, for the benefit of society and the community, the environment or individuals outside (or in addition to) one's immediate family. It is unpaid and undertaken freely and by choice

    It further states that the definition covers: