Deutscher Caritasverband, Verbund Freiwilligen-Zentren
Tel: +49 0761 200-276
Fax: +49 0761 200-751
Deutscher Caritasverband, Verbund Freiwilligen-Zentren’s objectives are the following:
*To promote volunteer work within the structures of the welfare state, particularly inside the German Caritas Association
*To promote recognition of volunteer work within society
*To continually develop the political framework for voluntary activities
In addition we have the following aims:
*Systematic promotion of secondary networks
*Being open to all groups
*Encouraging citizens to volunteer for social work
*Providing the unemployed with volunteer work
*Placing volunteers as partners and experts within social work
*Learning from other European countries
*Co-operation and networking
This focus will naturally depend on the local situation. Perhaps there are differences in the various states of Germany as regards for example, social recognition and political support.
On the International Day of the Volunteer, 5 December 1996, fourteen Volunteer Centres were founded all over Germany, in a pilot stage until 1999. A network of about 40 volunteer centres followed the pilot stage, all over Germany, called “Verbund Freiwilligen-Zentren”.
The “Verbund Freiwilligen-Zentren” is an initiative of the German Caritas Association, which is itself part of the social movement. The Caritas Association fights for improved conditions in the field of voluntary social work, and co-operates with socially involved people, initiatives and organisations in an effort to create a society of true solidarity. There is special co-operation between Caritas, the social welfare organisation of the Catholic Church in Germany, and the Diakonisches Werk, the welfare organisation of the Protestant Church in Germany to support Volunteer Centres in an open form for the whole of society in Germany.
Resources and volunteer support networks within the country
Money from churches, from lotteries, from communities and the state all contribute to the resources of the organisation. The centres receive between 10% and 40% public money; the rest has to be raised by the centres themselves. There are no guidelines about the funding of volunteer centres with public money.
In various European countries, volunteer centres have a long tradition, especially in England and Scotland. In Germany however, volunteer centres are a relatively young movement. The volunteer centres of this pilot project work on three different levels.
As an agency they offer advice for people, groups and institutions on volunteering; channeling of people into an appropriate voluntary activity; support for professional discussions and a platform for shaping public opinion.
Every volunteer centre is open for cooperation in different areas, for example culture, sport, religion, music, environment, ecology and more.