Online Opening Conference 16.06.2021
Together with about 50 participants, we celebrated the official launch of Co-AGE Volunteers with an online opening conference on 16.06.21. During the conference, experts and volunteers from Austria and Slovakia had their say, shared their experiences and gave their assessments of challenges and potentials in volunteering.
Jürgen Grandits, CEO of bfi Burgenland, opened the conference with a welcome address. Then lvana Novakova and Michaela Koprdova, both regional coordinators at IUVENTA, reported on the situation of volunteer organisations in Slovakia. René Bischof from bfi then presented the Co-AGE Volunteers project. Afterwards, 3 volunteers (Darina Peniaskova, Tomas Hruska, Adriana Cigasova) reported on their volunteer work at home and abroad and showed how different and diverse volunteer work can be. Volunteer coordinator Michaela Logar told about her work in accompanying volunteers in elderly homes. Astrid Rainer from NachbarschaftsHILFE PLUS also took part in the final discussion. Here, the participants exchanged views on the urban-rural differences they observe, the impact Corona has had on their organisations and the volunteers, and the different motives of volunteers. Especially before the beginning and after the end of working life, volunteering is of great importance. For younger people, it offers (professional) orientation and self-awareness, for older people it is a meaningful activity that promises community and inclusion. Volunteering also enables people to learn languages and tolerance. The increasing importance of voluntary work in the future was also emphasised, as it fills gaps left by the shrinking welfare state. This revealed an extremely interesting picture of the similarities and differences in both countries, which provides a good starting point for our project.