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2012 - December

Delegates from across Europe attend the second VERSO inter-regional meeting, held in the UK

East Riding of Yorkshire Council hosted the second VERSO inter-regional meeting, which was held in the UK at the picturesque Cave Castle Hotel in East Yorkshire from 21 to 23 November. East Riding of Yorkshire Council is one of eight local authorities and four research institutions across Europe chosen to take part in VERSO (Volunteers for European Development), a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme. They are working together to look at how volunteering can help tackle problems with rising unemployment across the European Union.

The local authority partners met with knowledge partners to present examples of good practice and consider their relevance to the VERSO project. Further study of these examples, including a cost benefit analysis, will be carried out by the university partners before the next meeting, which is due to take place in Detmold in April, 2013.

As part of the UK event, a political briefing took place on the Thursday at 1pm, when a number of high-profile speakers discussed issues relating to UK and European volunteering policy. They included:

  • Nick Stanhope, chief executive of We Are What We Do, a not-for-profit behaviour change company that works on a range of social, environmental and health issues. Nick spoke on the subject of ‘Rethinking volunteering’.
  • Robert Beard, a policy officer for the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA), the national charity representing councils for voluntary services and other local support and development organisations. Robert’s speech was entitled ‘Priceless but not free: the case for voluntary sector infrastructure’.
  • Daniela Bosioc of the European Centre for Volunteering in Brussels, which is a European network of nearly 100 national, regional and local volunteers centres and support agencies. Daniela spoke about the ‘European Volunteer Measurement Project (EVMP)’.
  • Nick Ockenden, Director of the Institute for Volunteering Research, spoke about volunteering as an Ambassador at the London 2012 Olympics and what can be done to continue the interest in volunteering now that the event is over.

Interested parties followed the debate via a live webcast. If you were unable to tune in on the day, you can still view their speeches online at:


The idea of VERSO is to find new and innovative approaches to help get people into employment through voluntary work. The cooperation between research institutions and regional political authorities in the VERSO project makes it possible to perform comparative analyses and cost-benefit calculations on different initiatives across Europe.
Regional governments have an interest in independent research-based knowledge about ‘what works’ in volunteering, and how successful practices can be transferred from one national context to another.

To find out more about the VERSO project, visit the website The latest newsletter is now available to download from the website and interested parties can also register to receive future newsletters.

VERSO is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme

Partners in VERSO

  • The eight local authority partners in the VERSO project are the Municipality of Middelfart (Denmark), the Region of Epirus (Greece), Netzwerk Lippe (Germany), East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Generalitat de Catalunya (Spain), Municipality of Zalaegerzeg (Hungary), Municipality of Coevorden (Netherlands) and the Municipality of Sofia (Bulgaria).
  • The four research institution partners are Aarhus University’s Department of Education (Denmark), University of Ioannina (Greece), Budapest Business School (Hungary) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain).
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Revised 2012.12.03