The European Year of Volunteering tour came to the UK last week, and took up residence in the Coin Street Community Centre. While there I spoke to Stephen Crocker, who ran the Leeds City Council initiative to have a Leeds Year of Volunteering in 2010. He tells me why he thinks more local councils and authorities should do the same in their area, to increase the appreciation of and involvement in volunteering.
Thanks to the tour event I’m now pursuing two very exciting volunteering activities, so thanks EYV!
I spent several days last week out of the office, which is going to be the great bit about the new job (getting out there and meeting real people, that is, rather than not being in the office…!)
I started in Durham, speaking at an event on Europe in My Region, hosted by the Europe Direct there. It was very interesting talking to people who are actually implementing programmes using EU funds, mainly from the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund, though also the Science and Research Framework Programme and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme. The problems seem to be (unsurprisingly) finding the match funding, especially as potential government programmes that could provide match funding have different entry criteria. One woman even raised a problem I had never heard – that big companies were having trouble accessing ERDF funds. In all the years I’ve worked with EU funding programmes, I have never heard any complaint about big companies!
The next day I was in Leeds visiting our Europe Direct Centre there, as I am now responsible for the overall management of the Europe Direct Centres in the UK. It was a real eye-opener. I have been in touch with them quite a bit as they’re very up on the whole social media thing. But I was really impressed with how integrated they are with the general Leeds Library Service and how they have managed to create a lot of demand for their services, through roadshows in branch libraries, connections with schools and getting out and about at public events. I also met the guy dealing with volunteering at the City Council and the head of the Volunteer Centre Leeds, as they have done loads of work around the European Year of Volunteering. It’s good news that they are hoping to be in London for the European Year of Volunteering Tour later in the year.
The final stop on my trip was Coventry, to speak at an event on Zero Waste. Do you have any idea how interesting waste policy is? And how important? The event went from the political/administrative, like Caroline Spelman and to a much lesser extent me, the people dealing with it, such as Biffa, EOn and Severn Trent Water and then zero waste campaigners. I went to the workshop on local authorities and it was impressive how passionate people get about their local waste policy. A real learning process – and I’ll be much more careful with my household waste as a result!
Volonteurope, which promotes voluntary action throughout the EU as a mechanism for Active European Citizenship, has announced that nominations are open for its 2011 Active Citizens of Europe award. Of course this has extra resonance in this, the European Year of Volunteering.
We are looking for nominations from across Europe for individual volunteers, NGOs and corporate organisations with great CSR programmes, who have proved to be outstanding pioneers and ambassadors for voluntary action and Active Citizenship.
You can download the nomination form here: ACE 2011 Nomination Form
I said I would blog about the event last week that launched the FCO’s EU Careers month, but time sort of got away with me and with the meeting of all Representation Press Officers in Brussels last week, I didn’t get a chance to get round to it. The event was broadly similar to the 18 October event that I have already written about, but the difference was that this focused a bit more on people who already have a career, whether in the public or private sector and who might be looking for a change. I spoke to some very interesting people who in my opinion would be an asset to the Commission. I hope the event, and the accompanying website, will encourage them to apply. If you want a good laugh at my expense, see if you can find my video!
The careers bonanza continues with me doing an event at City University tomorrow and more later in the month. The other big theme of the moment is Volunteering, with this being the designated European Year, so I will try to write about that in the next day or two (promises, promises…)
How’s this for a great position for some lucky Eurogeek that likes Rugby League? As a former season ticket holder at Quins RL, I’d jump at it if it were compatible with my current functions.
The Board of the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) is seeking to appoint an Independent Director to assist the Board in the delivery of its Strategic Plan 2011 – 2017.
The RLEF has recently launched its eight-year strategy which is based upon the values of Empowerment, Dynamism and developing a Rugby League Culture. The strategy can be summed up in the phrase “getting more people, playing more Rugby League, more of the time”. Behind that phrase are significant operational plans which are being delivered by a 10-strong team of consultants placed across Europe.
The Board would like to receive applications from candidates with a strong background in any or all of the following disciplines:
• Public Relations
• European Government
Successful candidates will be expected to attend Board Meetings, normally three per year, where they will provide help, guidance, advice and support to the Executive team, which is charged with the delivery of the strategy.
It would be an advantage to be able to speak more than one European language.
The position is a voluntary post but reasonable expenses will be met to assist in undertaking the duties. The successful candidate will be appointed initially until August 2012.
Applications should be made in writing, including a letter of application and a current CV, to the RLEF General Manager [if you're interested, ask me for the contact details].
Closing date for applications is January 10th 2011
I was in Leeds yesterday for a conference on the European Year of Volunteering, organised by Leeds City Council. I was invited to give a presentation about the European aspects of the year. But it was just really interesting to be at the event, hearing what Leeds is doing. They had a local year of volunteering in 2010, which is why they are so enthusiastic about the European Year in 2011 and why they did the event. A nice aspect was that they had invited people from the voluntary sector and local administrations of their partner cities, Dortmund, Siegen (both Germany), Lille (France), Brasov (Romania) and Brno (Czech Republic), so it was possible to exchange experiences. One great idea that we heard about in a workshop on corporate volunteering was a website in the Czech republic where companies that would like to donate time can see what NGOs are looking for assistance, say with redecorating their premises. There are some similar services in some areas of the UK, such as Leeds Ahead who were at the conference, but it’s not obvious where to find them. I’d like this office to get into doing something, particularly given the theme of the next European year, but I have no idea how to go about finding an organisation that would like us to help out. If anyone has any pointers for me, that would be great!