The CEV Secretariat in Brussels hosted a study visit for 7 representatives from CEV member organisations from 31st May to 4th June 2010. The visit aimed at giving an introduction to the work done by CEV at EU level, as well as an overview on EU funding opportunities and how these can be used best by volunteer organisations. During their stay, the participants had the opportunity to visit their national representatives in the Parliament and the representatives from their region. Sessions on the various European programmes were led by experts from the European Commission and Regional Representations.
The participants came from the following organisations: CESV Messina (Italy), Volunteering England (UK), CSV Napoli (Italy), CSV Marche (Italy), ProVobis (Romania), Volunteer Centres Ireland (Ireland) and La Plateforme Francophone du Volontariat (Belgium). During the week the participants could also share experiences and opinions with each other and exchange project ideas and plans. The Job Shadowers valued most the opportunity to meet people from different countries and the networking opportunities, as well as feeling the “European Spirit” and thinking outside the box.
An important aspect of the Job Shadowing has been the learning on how to address the European institutions, in particular the national representatives and the representatives of the different European regions. Participants met their Members of Parliament (MEPs), as well as representatives from their Regional Offices in Brussels to lobby successfully for fostering volunteering policies at the EU level. These meetings and experiences will be of help during the upcoming European Year of Volunteering 2011 and also in addressing authorities at local, regional and national level.