We are a European, globally focused, non-profit network working to achieve more social justice in Europe and beyond, through active citizenship and volunteering.
Our vision is a world where the principles of inclusion, collaboration, sustainability and equality guide the thinking and practices in Europe and beyond. Our mission is to work, in collaboration with members and partners, to foster civic engagement, social action and volunteering, as a way to build inclusive, tolerant, diverse and resilient communities.
We strive for social justice for all.
Meet our team
Our people reflect our values and, driven by our members, set our direction, goals and strategy
Piotr has been Secretary General of Volonteurope since 2008. He was directly involved in the advocacy and implementation of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering. In 2017 he joined the Management Committee of Social Platform and in 2019 was elected President of Social Platform. His love for volunteering dates to his IB studies at UWC Atlantic College in Wales (1996-98) where, in his spare time, he was volunteering as a lifeboat crew member with the RNLI. He then studied Economics at the LSE in the UK. He works internationally and is based between London, Brussels and Ibiza.
“I bring to Volonteurope my passion for active citizenship, volunteering and social justice, as well as many years of experience of advocacy and engagement with policy and decision makers at all levels. I also know how important cooperation amongst civil society organisations is, especially in more challenging times, and I swear by the belief that we are all stronger, together.”
Laura is an award-winning UK-based journalist, who has spent the last 10 years leading communication teams across the UK for organisations in the public and third sectors. Most recently, she has been engaged in Government contracts as well as offering her freelance expertise to European projects such as EU Aid Volunteers and Erasmus+. Formerly Head of Marketing and Communications for Volunteering Matters, one of Volonteurope’s UK members, she recently established her own communications and marketing consultancy working national and European level, and now supports Volonteurope in coordinating its communication activities.
“Since I specialise in media relations and PR, copywriting and messaging, brand development and digital and social media, I bring the skills in all of these areas to Volonteurope. I am very keen to help promote and support active citizenship and volunteering. I am also a stickler on clear communication and cutting down jargon, thus ensuring that Volonteurope’s messaging is transparent, understandable and user-friendly.”
Cara holds a BA (hons) in Youth and Community Studies and has been involved in the youth field for over 12 years. Cara has been engaged in many roles in youth and community areas and has been working in the voluntary sector since 2015. However, she started volunteering already back in 2008, as a teenager. Cara has been working in the field of European projects since 2018, coordinating and manging EVS and European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programmes for Volonteurope’s UK member, Volunteering Matters.
“To Volonteurope, I bring my skills of youth work and European mobility programmes, as well as my passion for volunteering and the benefits it can have. Through my UK networks, I am able to build the voice for Volonteurope in the UK and assist with the running of ESC programmes and placements.”
Social Media Specialist
Volunteering has been a big part of Alex’s life since he was 18, and since then he has worked with charities including British Heart Foundation and Age UK. He began his social media career in 2015, volunteering in the charity sector to support older people in the community. He moved into higher education in 2016, and currently works as a freelance social media manager and content writer. Alex wants to make the world a better place and bring people together through social media; he also believes in empowering others to use social media as a force for good.
“As someone incredibly passionate about volunteering, I’m really excited to work with Volonteurope! The network offers so much support to people across Europe and beyond, and the organisation’s vital work makes the world a better place. By using social media and engaging with a range of people online, I hope to highlight their successes and help even more people.”
Furkan is a law student in the last year of his undergraduate studies at Galatasaray University in Turkey and is currently studying European law at Université Catholique de Louvain as an Erasmus student in Belgium. He is interested in volunteerism, NGO management and child protection. Furkan has implemented many volunteer projects to reduce inequalities in Istanbul and worked at Turkey-Europe Foundation as an intern where he learned EU policymaking and the relationship between Turkey and Europe. At this moment in time, he works remotely on Education and Youth Policy at the Republican People’s Party in Turkey.
“I bring to Volonteurope my expertise as a coordinator of volunteer projects for youth and my passion for volunteering and policymaking. Volonteurope offers various networks to promote social justice and to spread volunteerism not only in European Countries, but also beyond Europe. I want to be a voice of volunteers and youth for social issues and their solutions.”
Andreas is from Passau, Germany, and represents a grassroots NGO Gemeinsam leben und lernen in Europa (GLL, Living and Learning Together in Europe). He studied Psychology and Middle Eastern Studies in Heidelberg and Bamberg (Germany), Istanbul (Turkey) and Chapel Hill (USA), and graduated from a journalistic training programme in Munich. He has been with GLL since 2013, when he dedicated a whole year to full-time volunteering as a National Volunteer. He is now a Board Member of GLL and responsible for Public Relations.
“I bring to Volonteurope my expertise as a volunteer, a manager of volunteering projects on both regional and European level, an organisational psychologist and a trained journalist. My goal is to intensify the collaboration between Volonteurope members and external organisations, providing valuable resources and communication platforms to our members on how to promote volunteering and social justice across Europe. I want to be a voice for small organisations short of funding, as well as for young volunteers.”
Juan Ángel Poyatos
Juan Angel has a PhD in Economics. Professionally, he held various Government posts in Spain and worked both in the private sector and for the European Commission. Juan Ángel has been engaged in the volunteering sector since 2006 and in 2011, he launched Voluntare, a corporate volunteering network, where promoting corporate volunteering in Spain and Latin America plays a central role.
“I bring to Volonteurope a different view on volunteering thanks to my experience working in corporate volunteering. In Spain, volunteering promoted by companies is one of the main ways people start volunteering, so it is important that Volonteurope plays a key role in the promotion of corporate volunteering in order to mobilise more and more European citizens, as well as, through its membership in Voluntary and IAVE, continue expanding globally. This is the area that I am excited to be supporting Volonteurope as it develops and grows in strength and outreach.”
Marcos is a member of the Spanish NGO, Alianza por la Solidaridad, since 2009. Alianza por la Solidaridad, member of Volonteurope, is a cooperation and international development organisation and recently, a member of ActionAid. He supports the fundraising and corporate volunteering department as a volunteer. Marcos is also the organisation’s regional delegate in his home region of La Rioja. He is an economist and CSR expert, with vast experience in CSR, sustainability, and corporate volunteering. He works in a social consultancy and as a CSR teacher. Marcos was one of the Spanish participants in the European Year of Volunteering 2011 and contributed to the development of the Policy Agenda for Volunteering in Europe, PAVE.
“I am passionate about volunteering and social Europe, both of which, I believe represent, the best values of our democratic societies, such as social justice, diversity, and the inclusion of all people. I believe that we should respond to the challenges that we face together, from an international point of view: in Alianza, we work in more than 50 countries globally and I believe that Volonteurope’s future lies in being a global network for social justice.”
Serkan was born in Diyarbakir, Turkey, in 1994. He received a bachelor’s degree in economy and Management from Mardin Artuklu University, Mardin, Turkey, in 2019. He has been coordinating an international social cohesion project called ‘Mesopotamia Circus and Street Arts’, funded by UNICEF, at cities and villages on the border between Syria and Turkey. He is currently Board Member of the Mardin Youth and Culture Association, Volonteurope’s member organisation in Turkey.
“I bring to Volonteurope a contribution of linking volunteers with European organisations, which are under Volonteurope’s umbrella, to spread European values and create life-changing opportunities for young people through volunteering. I am also working hard to ensure that Volonteurope’s name and values became better known in Turkey, and to invite more, active, organisations, to become part of it. I am also able to share stories and experiences of volunteers from South-East Turkey to encourage people’s voices to be heard via the network.”
Maria has been the director of Tulip Foundation since its establishment in 2004. Tulip Foundation is a grant giving and operational organisation with a mission to encourage social responsibility in Bulgarian society, in which Volunteering is one of the core elements in all of its different programmes. Before joining the Foundation, Maria worked for the Co-operating Netherlands Foundations for Central and Eastern Europe in Bulgaria, The World Bank Institute in Washington DC, The Open Society Foundation in Sofia; The Office of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria; and The Medical Academy Sofia. Maria is also Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau.
“I bring to Volonteurope my passion for volunteering as a service to people and planet. I am committed to support the development of Volonteurope as a leading international organisation in the field of volunteering, to contribute to the development of the network and to stimulate active exchange and learning among the members on a European scale and beyond. I believe that Volonteurope has an important role to play, which will be even more important in the coming years. I am also contributing my professional experience in strategic planning and network development.”
Involved in Volonteurope since 2005, Davide is a journalist, traveller and skiing instructor. He is Head of European Projects and Communication at CSV Polis, the Volunteering Centre of the provinces of Savona and Imperia, in Italy. Before joining CSV Polis, Davide was Head of International and Cultural Activities at Arci Savona and volunteer as a civil servant at Arci Servizio Civile. In addition to his involvement with Volonteurope and CSV Polis, he was on the Board of Itinéraire International in France from 2011 to 2015, a spokesperson for the Third Sector Forum Savona from 2014 to 2018 and EPALE ambassador from 2015 to 2019.
“I bring to Volonteurope my experience in Erasmus+ projects, in networking and in social communication. I like this song.”
David was born in 1956 in Barcelona and moved to France at the age of two. He has degrees in urban geography (sociology), Spanish and Economy and Social Development. He worked for over 30 years in what is called in France, popular education and was in charge of training for volunteers, as well as professional training in the fields of youth and social work. He is now retired and is a Board Member in charge of international and European relations at la Ligue de l’enseignement Ille et Vilaine (Brittany, France), which works in the field of popular education, sport, culture, summer camps, international cooperation and organisation of debates, social and youth work. He is also voluntary member of la Ligue de l’enseignement in North France (Pas de Calais). He is (or previously was) engaged in different European networks, including being the founder and former President of the Lifelong Learning Platform, EAEA, European Civic Forum, European Humanist Federation, former Vice President at Solidarité Laïque. He coordinated North African civil society programmes in Morocco and Tunisia.
“For me, the link between volunteering, social justice and active citizenship is absolutely evident. I think that what we do in popular education is holistic in a social way. You can’t speak about education, without seeing social implications. To Volonteurope, I bring decades of experience of working in civil society, networks, and European institutions, and am also living out the lifelong learning experience!”
Costin is the Vice-President of Volonteurope and the President of Asociatia Imago Mundi, Mălureni, Romania, a rurally-based NGO which managed to become a strong association working in the field of youth, involved in many international projects and awareness campaigns. He has also recently taken the role of Organisational Development Specialist for Radio Romania Broadcasting Company, the national state-owned network of radio stations of Romania. For the last 15 years Costin has worked in the field of education and he was actively involved in activities of non-governmental organisations – as a teacher, trainer, youth worker, project manager and coach – and through these roles he has become involved in various projects and campaigns at regional, national and EU level.
“I am extremely passionate about travelling and meeting new people, and, of course, volunteering. To Volonteurope, I bring my interest in promoting volunteering for people of all ages as a pathway to building strong, inclusive communities. I have been part of Volonteurope since 2013 and am keen to help to grow it into not just a European, but a global, network.”
Oonagh is delighted to serve as the elected President of Volonteurope. She is a former voluntary sector CEO and has many years of senior experience in local government and the higher education sector, having worked in the UK, across Europe and rural areas of Canada, where her work focused specifically on combating all forms of exclusion faced by people from native Canadian communities. Oonagh represents Volonteurope on the Lifelong Learning Platform and Social Platform and sits on the Steering Group of the European Civic Forum.
“I bring to Volonteurope my professional experience and my commitment. I also bring a knowledge of the network and its members, and I want to put the members and partners at the heart of what we do. I have worked on a number of European partnerships and projects and also bring direct knowledge of the European institutions and our sister networks, which will give us visibility in Brussels and the ability to advocate for the network and its members. I hope I also bring a spirit of cooperation and collaboration to this role. Last but not least, I am committed to the values of Volonteurope, which reflect my own: democracy, equality, solidarity.”
Lenka Vonka Černa
Lenka is the Director of the Regional Volunteer Centre in Ústí nad Labem. She coordinated the first ‘Big Brothers Big Sisters’ volunteer programme in Czech Republic, developed after the Velvet Revolution of 1989. In 2007, she collaborated on two platforms which are still running today: the Northwest Volunteer Centres’ Council, which informally connects volunteer centres and programmes; and the Panel of Humanitarian Organisations in the region, where non-profit organisations and components of the integrated rescue system meet. During the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has run the Volunteer Aid Coordination Centre for the Ústí Region. Since 2018, she has been the President of the National Volunteer Association. At the governmental level, she is a member of the Government Council for Non-Governmental Non-Profit Organisations of the Czech Republic.
“I bring the voice and experience of volunteering in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. I advocate amongst Czech organisations to establish cooperation in a common ‘European house’ and I strive to lead by example. As a human being, I often appear where there is a lack of understanding and I connect seemingly incoherent things. And because my husband and I keep Hereford cattle, I am a woman standing on the ground and in active contact with nature.”