Statistics produced by a number of countries have indicated that the contribution of volunteers represents 5% of GDP and produces a return between five and eight times for every euro invested in volunteering.
This was stated by Marian Harkin MEP when she hosted a conference for senior volunteers in the European Parliament on Thursday, NovemCer 19th.
Addressing the Conference, Marian Harkin said:- “Volunteering is important because it is a core expression of civic participation and it enables people of all ages from all backgrounds and cultures to participate in the civic life of their communities.
“Volunteering contributes to the personal and social development of volunteers themselves and it has a positive impact on interpersonal relationships within communities. Involvement in volunteering has a positive effect on people’s health and, in particular, their mental health.
“Volunteering is hugely important in sport, emergency services, cultural activity and contributes greatly to intergenerational solidarity and active ageing. Both the EU and the United Nations have stressed the importance of senior volunteering and the need for government policies to raise awareness of measures which have a specific effect on older people including volunteering, intergenerational solidarity, active ageing and the protection of the dignity of older persons.
“Older people in addition to their accumulated knowledge, experience and expertise have also that very valuable gift to offer – their time. However a recent Eurobarometer poll on family life and the needs of an ageing population revealed that, while 73% of workers approaching retirement want to participate in voluntary activities, only 44% of retired people actually volunteer.
“The EU is therefore losing a huge resource, both social and economic and obstacles to senior volunteering need to be effectively tackled in the interest of communities across the 27 countries of the European Project”, Marian Harkin concluded.