Senior volunteering projects

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Active ageing 5

Social inclusion 10

Environment 16

Art, culture, heritage 18

Sport 22

If you have any questions regarding the Grundtvig programme in general or Senior Volunteering Projects in particular, please consult our website:
Alternatively, you can contact us at the following address:
European Commission

Directorate General Education and Culture

Unit Adult education / Grundtvig

MADO 13/28

B-1049 Brussels



The Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) supports education and training cooperation in Europe. Part of this programme, known as Grundtvig, specifically supports adult learning, through grants provided to staff working in the sector of adult learning, e.g. for in-service training, as well as providing support to European projects involving various organisations that are active in this field.

In 2009, a new type of activity - namely the Grundtvig Senior Volunteering Projects - was developed to offer new educational opportunities to citizens aged 50 and over. Volunteering in Europe has been an enduring success story for young people, and pioneer experiences for European, transnational senior volunteering, via Grundtvig or other European programmes which have proved that senior volunteering can also be a rewarding experience.
Grundtvig Senior Volunteering Projects are bilateral projects, arranged between two organisations from two different countries, usually involved with local volunteering. Their aim is to build lasting cooperation in a particular field (e.g. the environment), or around a specific target group (e.g. working with homeless people or with sick children). Projects last two years, thereby enabling good cooperation to be developed between the two organisations; during these two years, senior volunteers can volunteer for projects in the partner institution for periods ranging from 3 to 8 weeks.
Volunteering is increasingly recognised as a very valuable informal learning experience, for people of all ages. In particular, it has been recognised as a way of providing senior citizens in Europe with new learning opportunities, promoting the process of active ageing and emphasising the contribution of seniors to our societies. Indeed, senior citizens are a rich source of wisdom and experience from which society should derive far greater benefit than has tended to be the case in the past. This Action offers a new form of mobility to European senior citizens and allows them to learn, and to share knowledge and experience in a European country other than their own.

Grundtvig Senior Volunteering Projects therefore pursue the following interlinked, equally important, objectives:

  • To enable senior citizens to volunteer in another European country for any kind of non-profit activity, as an informal (and mutual) learning activity (learning / sharing knowledge)

  • To create lasting cooperation between the host organisation and the sending organisation around a specific topic or target group, through the exchange of volunteers

  • To enable the local communities involved in the exchange of volunteers to draw on the potential of senior citizens as a source of knowledge, competence and experience.

This brochure presents the first projects which have been supported in 2009 by the Grundtvig programme. We hope you will enjoy reading about them and will feel inspired to develop new projects!

Active ageing


We are not gonna take it!
Česká sekce DCI - Sdružení zastánců dětských práv České republiky – CZ –

Voluntary Service International – IE –

The project focuses on the sending and accepting of 50 + volunteers as part of a pilot scheme, which responds to current changes in society and is directly linked to the objectives of the Grundtvig program - Volunteer projects and the National Program of the Government of the Czech Republic. The applicant from the Czech Republic, "Defence for Children International" and the partner from Ireland, "Voluntary Service International" are involved in this project. The specific aims of the projects are: accepting four volunteers from Ireland and sending four volunteers from the Czech Republic; creation of a methodology on “How to work with volunteers aged 50+”; preparation of the Partnership project; creation of the international partnership and sharing experience (Ireland and the Czech Republic) and an information campaign at the beginning and at the end of the project (2x), which will serve to spread the idea of a Lifelong Learning Programme.


Active Volunteers - International Exchange (European Senior Volunteer Programme)
Diputación Provincial de A Coruña – ES –

CSV/RSVP Scotland – UK –
Volunteering is increasingly recognised as a very valuable informal learning experience, for people of all ages. It has been recognised in particular as a way of offering new learning opportunities to senior citizens in Europe, promoting the process of active ageing and emphasising the contribution of seniors to our societies.

The ACTIVEX project, promoted by the County Council of A Coruña (Spain) and CSV/RSVP Scotland (United Kingdom), will provide the volunteers with an opportunity to get to know the culture, history, traditions and daily life of these countries. By working together they will forge a closer relationship than would otherwise be possible. Volunteers will have a unique opportunity to benefit from a culture that is different from their own. As part of the project, different activities will be organized in fields as diverse as health care and quality of life, intergenerational activities, environment, heritage, etc. Consequently, ACTIVEX will allow the volunteers to develop their personal, social and intercultural skills, thus enabling them to contribute to the community as active citizens and take part in a European experience.

Associazione Culturale Link – IT –

Associacion Cultural en costruccion – ES –

The aim of the project is to start an intergenerational and intercultural learning exchange between two situations which, even though they are geographically quite close, still have much to learn from each other. The two organisations have worked for years in the area of youth and non formal learning for young people. From this starting point, the participating organisations decided to embrace senior volunteering as an opportunity to broaden their activities, at both local and international level, and give all those adults who still want to play an active role in society an opportunity to enrich themselves.
Get to Know and Love the Elderly (Γνωρίστε και Αγαπήστε την Τρίτη Ηλικία)
Eparhiako Sintonistiko Simvoulio Ethelontismou Lefkosias – CY -

Omilos Ethelonton – GR –
The proposed Plan concerns the collaboration between the District Coordinating Council for Volunteerism, Nicosia and the Group of Volunteers, which are non profit organizations from Cyprus and Greece.

Benefitting from their long experience the two entities have developed a philosophy of the growth and distribution of volunteerism through educational seminars and good practices. Their participation in the European programme will give them an opportunity to extend their horizons and to derive benefit at the same time.

The team of volunteers will deal with a team of senior citizens, called “Know and love the Third Age”.

The aim of the programme is to enable volunteers to take part in specific voluntary activities that will serve to widen their knowledge and experience.

The exchange will also help to create future inter-country collaboration between the two institutions around the subject of social provision (frail teams, environment, culture etc).

The volunteers who take part will act as a source of knowledge, skills and experience based on past activities. Once the programme is completed, the volunteers are expected to cultivate their personal, social and cross-cultural skills and faculties. They are also expected to contribute to the growth and practical introduction of voluntary activities and to work as active citizens in the community. Finally, the exchange seeks to achieve the growth and transmission of knowledge and experience.

The two institutions are expected to continue their inter-country collaboration, to exchange experience and good practices related to the thematic unit and volunteerism. The above institutions will be responsible for preparing and drawing up a timetable and for devising a training programme for the co-ordination and implementation of the voluntary work.


Learning through Volunteering in Senior Age

C.A.R.D.O. – SK –,

OKA-Onkéntes Kozpont Alapítvány – HU –
The general opinion in Hungary and Slovakia is that seniors in Eastern Europe are extremely reluctant to become involved in volunteering. However, the experience of both of the organizations involved through implementation of exchanges of senior-volunteers has shown that they are enthusiastic and eager to participate. The project's main goal is to enhance life-long learning and inter-generation dialogue through two reciprocal exchanges of six Hungarian and six Slovak volunteers. These exchanges will be organised as group mobility. Six volunteers will be placed at 3-4 hosting places where they will have the opportunity to share their experience. The project will also include preparatory training for volunteers and meetings between the coordinating and partner organisations. Project partners will also organise an event to inform the public about the project and to disseminating its outcomes. The fact that the project will support exchanges between Slovakia and Hungary is very special, as there are xenophobic tendencies among some nationalist groups in both countries. These tensions are not generally felt by the broader public. This project serves as a tool to demonstrate that there are no inherent tensions between these two nations and that they can accomplish a great deal if they cooperate with each other.
Volunteering: Say yes!
Zavod za novodobno izobraževanje – SI –

Gesellschaft für Europabildung e.V. – DE –

Through the proposed project we would like to contribute to the integrity of a society where people live in harmony. Elderly people are becoming a very important group which often faces isolation, loneliness and inactivity. To integrate and activate all these potentials, volunteer work offers good possibilities for everyone. Positive effects are even greater when volunteering includes an intergenerational and an intercultural dimension. If we want to achieve changes that go beyond individuals, organisations and community, we need to establish quality cooperation among the partners in the project. Partnership will not be about just the exchange of senior volunteers; it will also include other common topics in the field of mobility and volunteer work. During the project we will conduct evaluations at three different levels: among volunteers, at the partnership level and at community level. We should stress that we have prepared a long-term project which makes use of senior volunteer work as offering a new opportunity for active citizenship and active ageing. The project encourages major changes in human values and creates new forms of co-existence for all in society.


The Voice of European Seniors

Associação VIDA – Valorização Intergergeracional e Desenvolvimento Activo – PT –
The project will focus on strengthening the solidarity between senior volunteers, boosting their enthusiasm and motivation, improving the quality of life of the less fortunate, and ploughing back their resources into society.

The volunteers will learn from each other about how they can contribute by using their experience and knowledge to make an important contribution as active European citizens: this includes GIVING back, GETTING pride, STAYING ACTIVE, discovering new innovative resources and common interests, improving conditions that allow seniors to play a more active part in society, BUILDING TEAMS, ENGAGING SENIORS in non profit actions, and FINDING OUT about how they can maintain their independence in all countries of the European Union. We aim to raise seniors’ awareness of social shortcomings, to motivate them to seek solutions, to convey the broad range of European possibilities – particularly with a view to its enlargement – for remaining active and doing volunteer work up to an advanced old age, strengthening the solidarity between young and old through best practices in our countries and elsewhere. In order to achieve all this, the Senior Volunteers will organize learning events (e.g. workshops, cultural shows, presentations etc) with target groups from economic/socially disadvantaged areas – medical centres, homeless children, imprisoned minors, cultural venues, libraries, rural educational centres, etc..


Active Ageing - Active Ageing Policy: acknowledging and enhancing the contribution of over 55s to the local Community

Centro Servizi Volontariato Toscana – IT –

Centre for General Scientific Continuing Education of Ulm University (ZAWiN) – DE –
Volunteering is a vehicle for active ageing. 12 senior people. Three weeks volunteering together, during which time they play the roles of learners, teachers, interpreters, ambassadors of their own culture and grandparents through CESVOT & ZAWiN.


Committed to community 50+ (Poland / Lithuania)
Stowarzyszenie Nowa Rodzina – PL –

VsI "Sveikata i namus" – LT –

This senior volunteering project is aimed at senior volunteers (50+), in order to improve their language, social, cultural skills and knowledge, and to realize their potential in an international environment.

Under the Grundtvig project, two organizations - Sveikata i namus and New Family Association - will each exchange five volunteers for a period of four weeks. The project will last two years from 01/08/2009 to 31/07/2011. Priority for participating in this program will be given to those seniors who have the most to offer to the partner (valuable skills and ideas, openness to others and to change) i.e. those who will want to continue with voluntary work after the project's completion. Volunteers will be people who have a fairly low economic status and who would be unable to participate in international exchange without this programme.

The volunteer would work in the hosting organization together with local staff and volunteers and prepare/implement activities for the target groups of the organization.

After the project, volunteers in their home organizations will share their international experience by supporting other senior volunteers, training them and putting new working methods into practice.

For both organizations the project will be the beginning of an international activity.


Nachbarschaft Wien-Berlin
Wiener Hilfswerk – AT –

Nachbarschafts- und Selbsthilfezentrum in der ufafabrik e.V. – DE –
Freiwillige kennen aufgrund ihres ehrenamtlichen Engagements ihr eigenes Einsatzfeld in der Nachbarschaftshilfe meist sehr gut. Mit dem Austauschprojekt soll eine Erweiterung des Erfahrungshorizonts (auch im Hinblick auf Handlungsspielräume) und der Feldkompetenz durch Kennen lernen anderer professioneller Zugänge und Hilfestrukturen stattfinden. Im Mittelpunkt des Projekts steht die Anregung von Lernprozessen (u.a. interkulturelles Lernen) und sozialer Inklusion durch eine dreiwöchige, gemeinsame Gruppenreise von vier älteren Freiwilligen nach Berlin bzw. Wien, durch deren freiwillige Mitarbeit beim Nachbarschafts- und Selbsthilfezentrum nusz bzw. in Nachbarschaftszentren des Wiener Hilfswerks, durch Recherche von Projekten, die von Nachbarschaftseinrichtungen in Berlin zu Nachbarschaftszentren des Wiener Hilfswerks in Wien und umgekehrt transferiert werden könnten, durch deren Implementierung in Berlin bzw. Wien sowie durch die Begleitung und das Mentoring für die vier ausländischen Freiwilligen während ihres dreiwöchigen Engagements in Berlin bzw. Wien. Die von den Freiwilligen durchgeführten Tätigkeiten umfassen u.a. Mithilfe bei Kinderprogrammen, in der Lernhilfe, bei (der Vorbereitung von) Veranstaltungen und Gemeinwesenprojekten. Die beteiligten Nachbarschaftseinrichtungen in Berlin und Wien profitieren längerfristig einerseits vom Engagement der durch die Erfahrungen des Austausches motivierteren, sozial offeneren und kompetenteren Freiwilligen, und andererseits von Projekten, Ideen und Initiativen, die sie vom Einsatz im Ausland in ihre Herkunftsorganisation mitbringen.


Charte de Bénévolat pour les Universités inter-âges

Cannes Université 2 – FR –

Université des Aînés – BE –
Exchange of senior volunteering practices between Third Age universities and drawing up of a charter for volunteers in Third Age universities.


Freiwilligenarbeit in Europa: Lebenslanges Lernen durch interkulturelle, intergenerationelle und Internet-gestützte Zusammenarbeit
Virtuelles und reales Lern- und Kompetenz-Netzwerk älterer Erwachsener (ViLE) e. V. – DE –

Lodzki Uniwersytet Trzeciego Wieku im.Heleny – PL –
Über das Projekt FELIZ der beiden Partnerorganisationen Universität des 3. Lebensalters in Lodz/Polen und ViLE e. V. in Ulm/Deutschland soll es gelingen, die Freiwilligenarbeit von Menschen im Alter 50+ aufzuwerten und eine Stärkung der europäischen Identität dieser Zielgruppe durch die Europäische Dimension des Projektes zu erreichen. Zusätzlich soll eine Unterstützung der europäischen Mobilität älterer Menschen, sowie Schaffung und Vertiefung europäischer Kontakte zu einer Organisation mit ähnlichen Arbeitsschwerpunkten, einhergehend mit Wissensaustausch und Wissenserweiterung (Austausch von good practice) erreicht werden und der Arbeitsschwerpunkt "Lebenslanges Lernen" beider Organisationen bereichert werden. Die Freiwilligen werden in diesem Projekt die Gelegenheit haben, sich intensiv mit der Kultur und den Arbeitsschwerpunkten der Partnerorganisation zu beschäftigen. Die Aufgaben der Freiwilligen in der jeweiligen Partnerorganisation liegen in den Bereichen "Lebenslanges Lernen", "Intergenerationelles Lernen" und "Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie (IKT)".


Active Ageing through Volunteering by Older People: an Anglo-Italian Peer Learning Programme

Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme at Community Service Volunteers – UK –

Centro Savonese di Servizi per il Volontariato – IT –
This project will link a UK national volunteering organisation with a local Italian volunteering organisation, which will involve 6 volunteers from each organisation carrying out reciprocal exchange visits lasting 3 weeks. The volunteers and organisations will learn from each other and share good practice in encouraging active ageing, by creating opportunities for older people to volunteer in their local communities. The aims of the project are to:

  • Understand how each organisation creates opportunities for lifelong learning and active community involvement by older people through volunteering in three areas – disability; environment projects; and using new technologies for befriending

  • Share current good practice in the recruitment, training and support of older people as volunteers who gain skills and competences through their volunteering

  • Understand the developmental context of each organisation and how this context, and the geographical scope, influence their senior volunteering activities

  • Explore the innovative volunteering opportunities that have been developed by each partner and consider how they could be replicated by the other partner

  • Share the learning from the exchanges so that each organisation can create new practical projects for older people to engage in learning through volunteering.


Pavie-Paris: sur la route de l'Europe solidaire

Centro Servizi Volontariato di Pavia e Provincia – IT –

France Benevolat Paris – FR –
This project is presented by two associations which both promote volunteering and support to associations. Their aim is to give a European dimension to their activities and raise awareness amongst their members about the value and benefits of European cooperation.

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