MEP Calls For 2011 to be the European Year of Volunteering

04 July 2008
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has pledged his support to calls for 2011 to become the European Year of Volunteering.

A written declaration has been put forward by MEPs which Mr Smith has added his name to. This comes alongside the European Commission's proposal launched today (Friday) which calls for greater opportunities for young people who want to volunteer across the European Union.

The declaration highlights the huge number of people who take part in volunteering across the EU (as many as 3 in 10) as well as the positive contributions that volunteers make in so many areas of society, including the estimated 5 percent contribution that volunteering makes to the GDP of national economies.

Speaking from Edinburgh, Mr Smith said:

"It is high time that we recognise and mark the fantastic contribution that volunteers make in such a variety of different sectors of society. More than 100 million Europeans volunteer for all sorts of things each year, whether it be helping out in charity shops, leading a pack of Scouts or Guides or running sports classes, and it is about time that this was recognized and applauded.

"While there are a large number of informal arrangements to support volunteers, there really needs to be a more formal infrastructure to complement what already exists. Those volunteering are often the last to ask for thanks or recognition, usually just quietly getting on with the job in hand, so the risk remains that their sterling efforts may be overlooked unless sufficient support is put in place. By making 2011 the European Year of Volunteering we can go just a little way to giving all of Europe's volunteers the thanks that they deserve."