Sabrina Redolfi: "Volunteering should not be written, it should be lived."

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F Pere Tarrés - Miriam Bantulà
  •  Sabrina Redolfi,  Director of the Welfare and Social Cohesion Service, Comune di Trento.
    Sabrina Redolfi, Director of the Welfare and Social Cohesion Service, Comune di Trento. Source: Sabrina Redolfi.

Sabrina Redolfi outlines Trento's engagement in the European Volunteering Capital competition, emphasizing a participatory approach to revitalize its volunteering sector in response to contemporary socio-economic challenges.

Sabrina Redolfi, Director of the Welfare and Social Cohesion Service, Comune di Trento,  details strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing public-volunteer dialogues, youth involvement, and urban regeneration, alongside a rich calendar of events promoting volunteering. She highlights the importance of measuring volunteering's impact, the piece reflects on the city's vibrant volunteer ecosystem and the broader benefits of this recognition for community well-being and European solidarity.

What are your aims?

We chose to participate in the EVC competition as a concrete step to enhance and renovate the diverse volunteering sector, historically present in our territory. The impact of recent socio-economic events (pandemic, war, ageing of population, impoverishment and migrations) are increasingly perceived as key issues by active citizens who are seeking further guidance and coordination from the Municipal administration. Such events have also shown how proximity and solidarity networks can enhance coping and resilience capacities of communities. Based on this premise, the administration decided to engage in a participatory process, as inclusive as possible, to develop the city’s candidacy.

The Municipality and the Volunteer Service Center (CSV Trentino) engaged in a participatory process in order to develop our candidacy, resulting in a 5-year strategic plan with specific areas of action. Our aim is to continue to work in the most collaborative way possible with the volunteering community to implement the strategic plan and develop a lasting legacy. The four strategic lines we are working on are: empower the dialogue between volunteering and public administration; strengthen volunteering exposure, support and coordination; awareness and involvement of young generations; urban and social regeneration and sustainability.

What events do you expect to do during this year?

The year kicked-off with an inaugural event with around 3,000 people in which the President of the Republic gave an address about the value and importance of volunteering. Other institutional events will take place throughout the year including a gathering in May of the European volunteering community and a closing event at the end of November. The European Volunteering Capital will be an integral part of the other events taking place in Trento such as the Trentino Film Festival, the Festival of Economics, and the Festival dello Sport. In addition, anyone is invited to propose an event related to the volunteering goals. These events promoted by local committees, associations, groups, and organizations are featured on the website and form an essential tapestry of initiatives.

What is the picture of the current state of volunteering in Trento?

In Trentino 1 out of 5 people volunteer. 12,500 citizens dedicate their time to the care of urban commons through collaboration pacts. 666 organizations operate in Trento with over 20,000 volunteers. Sectors of operation include sports, culture, social and health care, emergency managment, and environment. 
One of the actions we are working on within the European Volunteering Capital strategy is to develop a methodology for measuring the economic, social, and cultural impact of volunteering in Trentino to have a better picture of the impact of volunteering on a personal, organizational, and community level. 

The jury highlighted your video presentation, what was it about? How did you approach the video? 

The video aims to depict, in a somewhat humerous way, the diversity and quantity of volunteers and volunteer organizations in our city. As we prepared to make the video, we realized how difficult it is in 5 minutes to represent the entire volunteering ecosystem. So we decided to make a video in which the main subject is an online meeting between representatives of the orgnizing committee and the videomaker in which they discuss how to make the video, what it should convey and some of the many experiences that could be shared. The Mayor of Trento calls during the meeting to ask how it is going and admits it must be very difficult to show in a short video how amazing Trento’s volunteering sector is. The video closes with the phrase “Volunteering should not be written, it should be lived”.

How can this recognition benefit your city?
This recognition will enable our city and our volunteering sector to more consciously join the European networks and movements and to give a fresh impetus to our joint strategic plan. Sharing experience and know-how acquired through our community work, work related to caring for urban commons and for the development of youth and social cohesion policies will the European dimension of our administration and expose our citizens and our volunteers to a European sense of belonging, further consolidating values of democracy, equality, social justice and global citizenship. 

Further, being the European and Italian Volunteering Capital is increasing the awareness of the role of volunteering in enhancing the well-being and the quality of life of our citizens. We are highlighting the many ways that volunteering is beneficial to both the receiving party and the volunteer, generating happiness and building community. The recognition is shining a light on volunteering that will continue to shine even stronger thanks to the groundwork being laid throughout 2024 to achieve the goals of the strategic plan.

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