Measures to promote volunteering by older people

In the context of the European Year of Volunteering in 2011, the EU wants to ‘encourage and support - notably through the exchange of experience and good practices - the efforts of the Community, the Member States, local and regional authorities to create the conditions for civil society conducive to volunteering in the European Union (EU) and to increase the visibility of voluntary activities in the EU' (European Commission, 2009b).

The main objectives are the creation of suitable general conditions for voluntary work as an important part of civic participation as well as the empowerment of volunteer organisations. This is of particular importance for volunteering in old age.

In searching for measures to promote the social inclusion of the older population, EU policies give special attention to encouraging volunteering. The Eurofound project examines volunteering as a factor for social inclusion of the older population.

A working paper documents case studies in five Member States. Phase two of the study collected data in six further countries. In all, 30 case studies have been documented. The consolidated report Volunteering by older people in the EU outlines cross-country differences as well as similarities in order to inform policy-makers at both national and European level.