More than 55 participants on 24 July took part in the Webinar: Volunteering in Post COVID19 Crisis: What now?. CEV President, Lejla Sehic Relic opened the webinar and presentations were delivered by Micky Lefranc, Board member of France Bénévolat, Mary Gaerty, President of National Council of Women Malta, Gertrude Buttigieg, President of Malta Health Network (MHN), Mauro Pace Parascandalo, CEO of Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector, George Thomson, CEO of Volunteer Scotland and Joana Bacelar, Escutismo Project Executive Coordinator.
Since the first day of the COVID19 pandemic crisis, citizens have responded by adapting and launching numerous volunteer initiatives. This has demonstrated, beyond all doubt, the importance of volunteers and a vibrant and responsive civil society, reflecting the spirit of a resilient and caring community, and the values of the European Union. In a context where, in many parts of Europe, volunteers, volunteer organisations and volunteering infrastructure organisations have suffered from a lack of investment and absence of public and State support in recent times, this unprecedented situation has highlighted more than ever just how critical volunteers are to our society, especially as a key partner of local policymakers at municipality level.
CEV calls for policymakers to “step up a gear” regarding volunteering policies and programmes. This “change of gear” should include increased focus, intensity and speed of investment and partnership development with volunteer-involving and volunteer infrastructure organisations and lead to a situation that more properly reflects the importance of the energy, expertise, and commitment of volunteers for health, well-being and solidarity in Europe, whilst avoiding the exploitation of volunteers in for-profit settings. This webinar explored the actions already planned and/or in place in different countries and contexts in Europe, and provide the space to exchange good practice and to inspire others.