Erasmus+ Volunteering projects allow young people aged 17-30 to take part in unpaid and Full-Time Volunteering activities for up to 12 months in another country within or outside the European Union.
‘My name is Paul, I am 21 years old and one of the Full-Time Volunteers at the North Lanarkshire befriending Project. I am from Austria, and I’m here for a year to support 9 young people as part of the project.
I arrived at the end of August last year, and had a few weeks training before I started to meet the young people. There are a lot of reasons why the young people are getting support from befrienders, but I’m happy to help wherever I can!
It was very interesting to meet the children for the first time and to get to know them better. My volunteering role varies from day to day, because I meet the young people separately every two weeks. I usually meet them after school, and we normally take the bus (depending on where they live) or walk to go somewhere to have a good time.
It’s a good feeling to see the young kids waiting at the window when I come to pick them up. Some of the kids want to do a lot of different things, some want to go swimming every time I see them. Some are happy with just a trip on the train for a few hours, or going to KFC. But the thing that matters the most to me, is to see them having a good time and enjoying their time with me.
The weekly supervision I have with the Volunteer Manager is also a great help to talk about the outings with the young people, and to plan outings in the future. We’ve also had a few group outings and trips, which are a good opportunity for them to get together and make new friends. We had a group outing at Christmas where we went ice-skating with some of the children, and it was fun to see them all having a great time. We also had a trip to the Sealife Centre at Loch Lomond, and even a three-day Easter trip to the Auchengillen outdoor centre where we are planning to go to again in summer.
At the moment I`m still here for a few months, so I’m looking forward to have a lot of fun with the young people in the future!’
Paul’s placement in the UK was made possible through Erasmus+ Volunteering Projects funding, often referred to as EVS (European Voluntary Service).