The president of Padova European Volunteering Capital talks about the many challenges they lie ahead and the current state of volunteering in Padova.
The European Volunteering Capital Padova 2020 begins on Friday 7th of February with the official opening. We have talked with Emanuele Alecci, president of Padova 2020 to know what prospects and aims they have.
Padova hosts the European Volunteering Capital in 2020. What are your aims?
The aim is to take advantage of the events organized, and of the visibility connected to them, to raise awareness and highlight the great issues faced by volunteering. We do not want only to celebrate volunteering, we have committed ourselves to create and to spread a new "Culture of Solidarity". This means that we all have to take our responsibilities setting aside the old concept of welfare policies.
What events do you expect to do during this year?
From the opening ceremony that will take place on 7 February, with the presence of the president of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, to the closing ceremony that will close the year on the 5th of December, there will be a lot of different activities: workshops, conferences, concerts organized by the municipality, by the volunteering centre, by local and national organizations. There are more than 400 associations that are working to enrich with events this year as European Capital of Volunteering.
From your point of view, what will be the benefits for the city?
Padua will be at the centre of a movement that works on good practices that looks to society by putting solidarity, gift, reciprocity in the foreground. Padua has been chosen as a candidate because it is an important laboratory for all Italian volunteers and this recognition will increase even more the presence and strength of volunteers. We will have a better city.
What is the picture of the current state of volunteering in Padova?
The picture is a healthy situation. The report on the state of volunteering in Padua 2019 says that the number of associations have grown to 6466, they were 6374 in 2018. The majority of organizations work in the cultural and sports areas that, together, exceed 50%. Those dealing with social and social-health care are 21%.
The great majority of associations, 76%, are small and the main source of support comes from private contributions, regardless of economic size.
What are the main troubles you have to face?
Two are the biggest issues:
First at all, the Reform of the Third Sector voted in Parliament that is reshaping the world of volunteering and not for profit. Secondly, we had difficulty involving young people on long-term projects; from our research we have seen that youngster are committed in the helping of the community, but they prefer to move in response to the immediate needs.
In your opinion, what do you think that Europe needs to make the difference in this field (volunteering)?
More involvement of the representative bodies. Volunteering should not be relegated to "the good things" but should be a value for everyone, transversal to society in all its articulations. We welcomed with satisfaction the creation of a group of MEPs who joined the manifesto on volunteering set up by Cev.
What is the value of volunteering for any society? What could you say to persuade new volunteers?
The value is in caring. Taking care of people, of your neighbourhood, of your city. The common good is the founding value that must be nurtured and protected. Volunteers are happy, they live in peace with themselves and with the world, they produce harmony: this is what we say to convince someone to become a volunteer.