European Voluntary Service

What's it all about?

There’s something about the word ‘volunteer’ that seems to scare off so many people. Even though it’s for a worthwhile cause, can help local communities across the world, and give you invaluable experience you can add to your CV, it doesn’t seem fair that it should come at a cost to you.

Well, the good news is that it doesn’t have to. Erasmus+ helps cover the costs of your travel, accommodation, meals and insurance and even a bit extra to cover daily expenses. So now we’ve cleared that up, it’s time to find out more.

Can I apply?

You can’t apply for funding  yourself, so you’ll need to join an accredited sending or host organisation, and one of them will apply to Erasmus+ for funding on your behalf. 

Find volunteering opportunities now!

Organisations working with young people are generally looking for anyone with the right attitude who’s willing, enthusiastic, able, living in the UK and aged between 17 and 30. So get your sleeves rolled up and get ready to get involved.

How can youth organisations apply?

For an organisation to be eligible for funding from Erasmus+ they need to be UK-based and fall into one of these categories:

  • public bodies
  • non-governmental Organisation
  • unincorporated youth groups
  • private limited companies

Some restrictions apply.

Am I limited to volunteering in EU countries?

Not at all. Though Erasmus+ is mainly an EU thing, other countries around the world are involved. But whichever organisation is applying will need to be UK-based or accredited through Erasmus+ to receive funding.

Also be aware that if you’re volunteering outside the EU then you’ll need to apply for your own working visa.

How long can I volunteer for?

From just two weeks up to twelve months. 

How much funding will I receive?

That really just depends on where you’re going and for how long, so not an easy one to answer. Erasmus+ will generally cover everything from travel and accommodation to food and insurance. You may even get a monthly allowance to help you with some of the day-to-day expenses.

In certain circumstances there will be a small administrative fee.

When’s the deadline?

Organisations working with young people have three application rounds in 2016 for each key action. You can find a full list of upcoming dates here or sign up to the Erasmus+ e-newsletter to stay up to date with all the latest news

Why should I go?

There’s no right or wrong reason for volunteering – different people do it for completely different reasons, and it’s completely up to you to decide on that. But whether your motivation for volunteering is to give something back to the world or just see more of it, it always looks great on a CV, and the memories you’ll take from it will last a lifetime. So open your eyes to the possibilities and do something different in life – you’re only young once.

Why should my organization register under EVS?

Watch the video below and see how organizations benefit from registering under the European Voluntary Service!

Past participant stories:

“I miss the kids a lot. I miss waking up in the morning and hearing them sing the national anthem. And then I look out my window and they all turn around and wave at me and say ‘Good morning Sir Alev’. I really miss those words.”

– Alev Gunes, spent 8 months teaching English in Ghana. Read more of his story here.

“I think EVS was the best cure for mental health – better than any drug, therapist or doctor,’ says Calum. ‘Since I was a kid, I was always in trouble, and then I turned 16 and was getting into worse stuff – trouble with the law, drugs, hanging out with the wrong people. I think this was the reason my youth workers arranged to send me to a project in Italy – to keep me out of jail. It was a real eye-opener and life-changing. In that place, I started to behave. I became quite open-minded because I realised that people in other countries are just people like me. I learnt about respect, I learnt about loyalty. If I hadn’t gone, I would probably be dead or in jail.”

- Calum Barron, UNA Exchange in Italy, Poland, Wales, and Lithuania. Read more about his experience here