04 June, 2012

Meanwhile: in Copenhagen

Having the best of both worlds: that was the driving force behind the decision to have the 2nd INVEST partnership meeting in May organised in conjunction with the CEV conference. The theme of the Copenhagen conference was in fact very much in line with the path that had been trodden in the run-up to the Grundtvig project application of INVEST, namely: cross-sector collaboration. The backdrop: the beautiful location of the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) at Christiansborg Palace, on the island of Slotsholmen in the centre of the Danish capital. After enjoying the CEV conference, its workshops,seminar sessions and opportunities for networking and disseminating, the INVEST partners met on Friday May 9th to hold two workshops in the company of their volunteers, volunteering coordinators and colleagues. The workshops were a first try out in a European setting, leading to stimulating dialogue and exchange of experiences. The overall mission and goal of the INVEST project is to strengthen volunteering interventions by training volunteers on a regular basis in order to increase motivation for volunteering, encourage the quality and continuity of volunteer involvement and empower volunteers themselves in their competence development. In the workshops given by the UK partner (Roehampton University)and the Italian partner (Ciessevi) the focus was in fact on those issues. Having been identified as a major component of any learning activity, reflection took centre stage in the discussions and debriefing moments after the workshops. Many times you could hear participants saying: "come to think of it , I now realise that .....". Another interesting reflection was expressed during the finishing round of remarks: "it was so good to talk to people involved in volunteering within the wider scope of Europe; there is so much common ground but we've never realised this up to now in this European setting by sharing these thoughts with European counterparts". Mission completed ? Not yet, but we are well underway ! The Grundtvig Learning partnership that started its activities in September 2011 is more or less midway by now, so it was time to take stock of the progress made during the first project year. This was done on the morning preceding the general opening of the CEV conference. Taking the opportunity to finetune further steps in the project, the partners outlined more detailed plans for the coming months and the 3rd partnership meeting in November, in Milan. Hopefully, by the end of June we'll have finished a number of chapters of the digital booklet we are to produce, so that from September onwards the focus can shift towards volunteer portfolios.

Posted later, a short videoclip of the INVEST meeting: