04 April 2018
Last Updated: 04 April 2018
by Giacomo MANCA

Last 1st of March, the EU Affairs Office of the Salvation Army participated in the 9th FEAD Network Meeting, which gathers stakeholders of different levels as NGOs, food banks and national authorities working with the distribution of aid through the EU funding to the most deprived.
This meeting had volunteering and volunteers as its main theme: the role of volunteers in the distribution of food parcels as well as the organisation of accompanying measures for recipients of these funds is crucial: not only volunteers alleviate some of the financial pressures linked to paying full or part time staff, but they also represent a range of broader benefits: volunteers are valuable because they bring with them a diverse range of skills, as well as a link to the local community.

Several workshops were provided by different experts in recruiting and retaining volunteers: it is essential to set up effective rewarding measures, enabling the volunteers to feel useful and accepted, and to dedicate to volunteers specific spaces and times, support and listening moment. In addition, providing a way to certificate the new competences of the volunteers is an important tool to empower and motivate them.

Interesting ideas appeared from the projects displaying the inclusion of former recipients of FEAD funding, or participants in programmes funded with ESF recruited as volunteers. Encouraging recipients to work as volunteers can help them to feel useful and integrated part of the society, develop social skills and getting uses to work habits, stepping up their motivation with a positive impact on their employability. It is important however to adopt the right discourse in doing it, in order to avoid linking the entitlement to benefits to the condition of volunteers.

To read more, please, find the official meeting report of the  9th FEAD Network Meeting here

Tags: Europe