Last November I was delighted to be selected for the position of European Projects Officer. I was really excited to have been given this opportunity as it would allow me to continue allow me to continue to be part of the dynamic Volonteurope team working on exciting projects to produce positive outcomes.
It has been all guns blazing since I began my new role. I have been working with Laura with the Valuing Volunteering Working Group to produce a report on the tools to measure the impact of volunteering. We are also organising an event which will be held on the 23 March which will conclude the 3 year campaign that Volonteurope and the working group has carried out to raise the profile of impact measurement in the volunteering sector. We are also working on an event exploring the meaning of active citizenship. Volonteurope and the European Civic Forum have carried out research into what constitutes active engagement and identified barriers and enablers to active citizenship throughout a 3 year campaign on this theme. This event which will take place in Belgium on February 19 will conclude this programme and will be an opportunity for us to present our findings.
I am working alongside Rosalind to continue to develop the Volonteurope network membership, with a particular focus on non-European members as we are now extending our membership beyond Europe. I am also really excited about the prospect of doing some advocacy around the Brexit negotiations and the future participation of UK civil society in EU programmes post-Brexit. Scotland is in a unique position in that a strong majority voted to remain in the EU (62%). It will be interesting to work alongside other civil society organisations during Brexit negotiations in Scotland where there seems to me more activity on this issue than elsewhere in the UK.
I am also coordinating European Voluntary Service volunteer mobilities as part of my role. This is a lot of work, but hugely rewarding. I have joined at a particularly exciting time as I will have the opportunity to work alongside the rest of the team to develop new short term volunteer placements in the UK for a new strategic EVS programme that we will be running.
I am based in Edinburgh for this new role which is really great as I am closer to my friends and family and the cost of living is significantly cheaper than in London! Nevertheless saying goodbye to the team in London was really sad and I am looking for excuses to visit them again soon! There are only three other people in the office here in Edinburgh, a big difference from the London office but there is no chance of me getting lonely as they are all so friendly and supportive. We have regular tea breaks together and they are always on hand to help out!
When I began as an intern last May I had no idea that I would be continuing to work with Volonteurope in Edinburgh in 2018 but I am glad that it has all worked out. I hope the next 6 months will be as fulfilling as the last!
Louise King, European Project Officer at Volonteurope