Get Connected – Volunteering and Shared Values

European values – peace, friendship, freedom, justice, opportunity, cooperation – are the values that we are committed to advancing in Ireland, on the island of Ireland, within our European family, and in our relations with the wider world.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., European Parliament, Strasbourg, 17 January 2018

Dublin City Volunteer Centre was awarded a major project grant by the European Commission within the framework of the Europe for Citizens Programme.

The project, titled “Get Connected – Volunteering and Shared Values”, ran from November 2017 until April 2019 and involved four partner organisations from four European countries:

  • What was the project about?

    Our daily interactions with people around us can have a lasting effect on who we are, how we see the world and what we hold dear. Volunteering can play a big part in how people choose to spend their time, who they engage with and what issues they decide to act upon, which in turn will shape their attitudes, values and connections – with other people as well as with their direct or wider community.

    Volunteering offers an opportunity to connect on many levels by:

    • Getting involved with issues close to your heart
    • Participating in the activities of your community
    • Taking ownership of what’s going on in your community
    • Making a difference in other people’s lives
    • Lending a helping hand
    • Showing solidarity and support for people less fortunate than yourself
    • Crossing the road – meet people in your community, get involved with groups you have never even knew existed, talk to someone that shares your passion – or even someone who has a completely different opinion
    • Re-connecting with an interest of yours, something that’s important to you and forms a part of your identity
    • Learning about other people and their lives, cultures, challenges and dreams
  • What questions did we ask?

    The project set out to take a closer look at what impact volunteering can have on people and their feeling of connectedness with their local communities, their attitudes and their general well-being. Throughout the project, we asked:

    • Do people feel more connected to their local community through volunteering?
    • Does it encourage them to become more active citizens and get involved in issues that matter to them and those around them?
    • Can volunteering lead to more self-fulfilment and encourage solidarity with others at the same time?
    • And, if volunteering can have an impact in relation to one’s own identity and their community’s shared values, how does this compare across the four European countries which, while similar in population size, might have quite different set ups in terms of infrastructure and cultural approaches when it comes to volunteering?
  • What did we do?

    With this project, we invited people to “Get Connected” with their community, people around them and their own identity through volunteering.

    Participants were invited to participate in conversations about what’s going on in their community and what’s important to them, to get involved in volunteering and to share their volunteering experience to inspire others. They were encouraged and supported to embark on their own individual volunteering journey.

    The project will had a number of components:

    • 24 Conversation Salons across the four partner countries
    • 6 Digital Media Workshops
    • Support to engage in volunteering activity for each participant – 139 people volunteered as part of the project
    • 274 “before2 and “after” surveys completed (to examine the impact of volunteering)
    • 4 European Roadshows– one in each country – to display and share the participant’s experiences at the end of the project (photo exhibition)
  • Project Background

    “Volunteering as a Tool to Strengthen EU Common Values” (Working title: “Get Connect – Volunteering and Shared Values”) was a project that had European citizenship at its core: values make up a fundamental part of citizens’ identity. Identity in turn is shaped through shared geographical or common interests or beliefs; and is expressed on an individual basis – as a local citizen – or through being part of a wider group. This Project provided the conditions for citizens to participate both at a local and Union level. Citizens were involved at the design stage and throughout the project, via their voluntary participation in the local events and volunteering; they were also part of a wider European project through the shared learnings, research results and feedback collation, at each project phase, culminating in the European roadshow. The partner countries and diversity of the participants involved, at a local level, further enhanced the opportunities for societal and intercultural engagement through the mechanism of volunteering.

    Dublin City Volunteer Centre, Serve the City Brussels, Volonterski Centar Osijek and Volunteer Scotland submitted a joint grant application for this project to the Europe for Citizens Programme in March 2017. The project scored 12th place out of 361 submitted proposals and was therefore selected for funding as one out of 25 projects across the EU. The incubation phase of the project started on 1st November 2017 and the project was completed at the end of April 2019.

  • Updates

  • Project Participants

    The participants of the Get Connected – Volunteering and Shared Values project came from Dublin, Brussels (Belgium), Osijek (Croatia) and various locations in Scotland.

    Meet our project volunteers and hear more about their stories and volunteering experiences. There’s lots of photos and videos, too! 

    Meet Participants

  • Project Findings & Publications

    Get Connected – Volunteering and Shared Values – Summary Brochure (pdf)

    Project overview & main activities, overview of examined values, 10 key policy observations





    Get Connected – Volunteering and Shared Values – Practitioners’ Briefing (pdf)

    10 key reflections from the project and suggestions for next steps





    Get Connected – Volunteering and Shared Values – Research Report (pdf)

    A report on the detailed research conducted by Anne Eustace on behalf of the project.  The purpose of this report is to offer insight into the learning arising from the Project, about values and infrastructure, as they relate to, support and influence volunteering. The research looked specifically at the supports, infrastructure, policy context and external factors influencing volunteering in the four partner countries Belgium, Croatia, Ireland and Scotland, as well as the volunteer impact surveys.



  • List of Events

    Event 1 – Conversation Salon 1

    Participation: The event involved 313 citizens, including 75 participants from the city of Dublin (Ireland), 83 participants from the city of Brussels (Belgium), 79 participants from the city of Osijek (Croatia), and 85 participants from Stirling, Tillicoultry, Alloa and Bo’Ness (Scotland).

    Location / Dates: 

    • Third Space, Smithfield, Dublin 7; Rosehill House, Finlgas, Dublin 11; Third Space Aungier Street, Dublin 2 (Dublin, Ireland): 14/03/2018, 22/03/2018, 11/03/2018, 09/07/2018
    • Serve the City Office, 15A Place van Meyel, Bozar Meeting Rooms (Brussels, Belgium): 6/3/2018, 19/3/2018, 20/3/2018, 21/3/2018, 10/4/2018, 11/4/2018, 16/4/2018, 17/5/2018, 22/5/2018, 23/5/2018, 26/5/2018;
    • Hotel Osijek (Osijek, Croatia): 11/04/2018
    • Jubilee House, Volunteer Scotland, Stirling; Tilly Tearoom, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, Lornshill Academy, Alloa, Clackmannanshire; Bridgeness Miners Welfare, Bo’Ness, West Lothian (Scotland) (+Aarhus, Denmark): 23/01/2018, 14/02/2018, 25/02/2018, 07/03/2018, 24/03/2018, 25/03/2018, 28/03/2018


    Short description:  The aim of the event was to invite interested people to meet in an informal context to connect with each other through conversation, to find out more about the Get Connected project and to build a sense of solidarity among the participants from a local and European perspective. Participant were invited to discuss a number of questions on the topic of community, volunteering and European values. The event also served to introduce details of the project and set out its European dimension.


    Event 2 – Digital Media Training

    Participation: The event involved  136 citizens, including 37 participants from the city of Dublin (Ireland), 36 participants from the city of Brussels (Belgium), 35 participants from the city of Osijek (Croatia), and 29 participants from Stirling, Tillicoultry, Alloa and Bo’Ness (Scotland).

    Location / Dates:

    • Carmelite Community Centre, Dublin 2; Dublin City Volunteer Centre, Dublin 2 (Dublin, Ireland): 28/04/2018; 23/05/2018
    • Serve the City Office, 15A Place van Meyel: Bozar Meeting Rooms (Brussels, Belgium): 06/06/2018, 07/06/2018, 19/06/2018, 13/09/2018
    • Volunteer centre Osijek, Stjepana Radića 16 (Osijek, Croatia): 12/06/2018
    • Lornshill Academy, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Ben Cleuch Centre, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire (Scotland): 23/05/2019, 19/06/2019


    Short description:

    The Digital Media Training was designed to improve the digital media skills of the project participants in order to empower them to tell their stories and record their journeys of volunteering in various non-profit organisations. It was also an opportunity for the participants to interact with and learn from each other.


    Event 3 – Conversation Salon 2

    Participation: The event involved  183  citizens, including 47 participants from the city of Dublin (Ireland), 35 participants from the city of Brussels (Belgium), 74 participants from the city of Osijek (Croatia), and 27 participants from Stirling, Tillicoultry, Alloa and Bo’Ness (Scotland).

    Location / Dates:

    • Third Space, Smithfield, Dublin 7; Mansion House, Dublin 2 (Dublin, Ireland): 09/10/2018; 05/11/2018
    • Serve the City Office, 15A Place van Meyel (Brussels, Belgium): 27/11/2018; 28/11/2018; 28/11/2018 (afternoon); 06/12/2018
    • Volunteer centre Osijek, Stjepana Radića 16, Osijek; Association of Children and Young People with Developmental Disabilities “Zvono”, Radnička 14, Belišće; Red Cross Osijek, Šetalište Petra Preradovića 6 (Osijek, Croatia): 14/11/2018, 20/11/2019, 28/11/2018
    • Centenary Hall, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire (Scotland): 23/02/2019


    Short description:

    The aim of the 2nd set of conversation salon events was to bring the project participants back together to talk about their volunteering activities, share moments of joy, discuss challenges and reflect on the overall experience. During the event, the participants were invited to discuss whether volunteering has increased their sense of belonging or connection to other people/ their community and to reflect and discuss with each other how the volunteering has enabled them to live out their values.


    Event 4 – Roadshow/ Exhibition Launch Event  

    Participation: The event involved 462 citizens, including 76 participants from the city of Dublin (Ireland), 62 participants from the city of Brussels at event (Belgium) 160 participants from the city of Osijek (Croatia), and 164 participants from Stirling, Tillicoultry, Alloa and Bo’Ness (Scotland).

    Location / Dates:

    • CHQ, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1 (Dublin, Ireland): 11/12/2018
    • Press Club Brussels Europe (Brussels, Belgium): 27/03/2019
    • Archeological museum Osijek, Trg Svetog Trojstva 2 (Osijek, Croatia): 05/12/2018
    • Centenary Hall, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire; Volunteer Scotland, Jubilee House, Stirling (Scotland): 23/02/2019, 12/03/2019, 13/03/2019


    Short description:

    The aim of this event was to launch the project’s “Roadshow”, a photo exhibition that displayed photographs of a selected number of project volunteers and their stories about their volunteering experiences. The aim of the exhibition was to display the diversity of volunteering across the 4 European countries, to celebrate the volunteers’ achievements, to share the key messages from the project and to inspire members of the public to “get connected” through volunteering. The exhibition was also an invitation to continue the conversation about volunteering and shared values.