European Solidarity Corps
The European Solidarity Corps brings together young people to build a more inclusive society supporting vulnerable people and responding to societal changes. The European Solidarity Corps was formally launched in Ireland through a workshop promoting European projects during the Léargas Forum on the 1st of November 2018.
The European Solidarity Corps creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work (in their own country or abroad) in projects that benefit communities and people. It enables them to respond to important societal needs and changes by taking part in solidarity activities across the European Union.
The European Solidarity Corps aims to promote social inclusion by facilitating access to opportunities for young people with fewer opportunities. These are young people who need additional support due to the fact that they are at a disadvantage compared to their peers because of various obstacles. These might include disability, educational difficulties, economic obstacles, cultural differences, health problems, social obstacles and geographical obstacles. These include young people from marginalised communities, or at risk of facing discrimination based on any of the grounds enshrined in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It also addresses the needs of young NEETs (i.e. young people not in employment, education or training).
It is through Volunteering, Traineeships, Jobs, or Solidarity Projects in their own communities, that young people contribute to strengthening communities while gaining experience, skills and competences for their own personal, educational, social, civic and professional development.
The European Commission set aside €44m for the European Solidarity Corps Call 2018
This call will allow at least 100,000 young people to take part in the Solidarity Corps until the end of 2020. It is intended to be the first of a series of such calls which is available for all young people in Europe and beyond. Certain European Solidarity Corps projects in the field of volunteering are also open to the participation of non EU-organisations from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and other partner countries.
Organisations will be able to offer short-term projects (from 2 weeks to 2 months) for teams of volunteers in addition to longer-term individual volunteering, traineeships and jobs in solidarity fields. Another possibility is for young people to form a group of at least 5 participants and set up youth-led solidarity activities themselves.
Types of Volunteering:
Individual volunteering is a full-time unpaid solidarity activity that lasts from two to 12 months. This type of solidarity activity will give young people the chance to take part in the daily work of organisations and informal learning takes place with a participative and learner-centred approach, closely linked to young people’s needs and learning by doing.
Activities can take place either in a country other than the country of residence of the participant (cross-border) or in the country of residence of the participant (in-country).
Volunteering teams are solidarity activities allowing teams of 10 to 40 European Solidarity Corps participants from at least two different countries to volunteer together for a period between two weeks and two months.
Specific support measures have also been foreseen for this purpose such as additional guidance but also additional funding that would allow participating organisations to better accommodate and cater for the needs of young people with fewer opportunities.