Government to offer more support for volunteers, ‘the glue of our society’

Summary

A new policy recognises the importance of volunteering, with plans including a new expertise centre that offers information, training and promotional activities

‘Inestimable value’

With more than one in five people in Flanders working as a volunteer, a new policy recognises their importance to regional life and provides better support for those who give their time.

Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois and minister for youth Sven Gatz have presented their colleagues with the broad lines of the new policy, which includes creating a knowledge and expertise centre to oversee the thousands of volunteer workers in the region.

Volunteer workers form an important part of Flanders’ associative life, and many sectors of the community would cease to function without their efforts. The Flemish government recognises the importance of the sector, and the two ministers have been working since November to come up with a plan to provide more and better support.

“We are now ready with the development of our vision regarding volunteer policy,” Gatz said. “Volunteers are everywhere in Flemish society. They fulfil a fundamental role in making society warmer and creating more solidarity. To bring together all forms of support for our volunteers, we are planning a central knowledge and expertise centre that will supply information, provide training and promote volunteer work to make the public more aware of its importance.”

“Volunteer work is of inestimable value,” Bourgeois added. “More than one in five people in Flanders works as a volunteer. They are the glue of our society, and for that they deserve our respect and support.”

Photo courtesy Sven Gatz