National programmes for youth volunteering (September 2018)
Participation in voluntary activities enables young people to become active citizens and agents of solidarity and positive change for communities across Europe. For this reason, in the EU Youth Strategy, EU Member States have committed to support organisations active in the field of volunteering and raising awareness about available opportunities. At EU level, the establishment of the European Solidarity Corps aims at increasing youth participation in cross-border volunteering schemes.
Information collected in the Youth Wiki shows that one third of countries directly operate national programmes offering concrete opportunities to young people to engage in voluntary projects. These are nation-wide programmes, organised, monitored and funded by national public authorities, which specifically target young participants.
National programmes have the advantage of providing a specific access point to prospective young volunteers. They also facilitate the matching of volunteers' availability and talents with the needs of host organisations (this is, for example, one of the main objectives of the Maltese national programme). They also make available to volunteers an inclusive framework for their involvement, frequently involving schemes for the reimbursement of incurred expenses (as for example in France), personal insurance plans, and a national system of certification of the volunteering experiences (as is the case in Luxembourg).