Learn English in the UK or in your own countryspacerUK courses and qualifications in the UK or in your own countryspacerThe best of British arts, media and designspacerPromoting British expertise in science, engineering, technology, environment and healthspacerGovernance and the rights of peoplespacerLibraries, information centres, seminars,  knowledge networks and the information society
What is the British Council?spacerVisit our worldwide network of officesspacerRead all about our collaborative workspacerFind our services, departments, libraries, personnel, etc.

The British Council home page

What is EVS?
EVS is supported by the European YOUTH programme and is described as Action 2.

It is an opportunity open to all young people between the ages of 18 and 25, which allows them to volunteer to work in a variety of activities in the social, environmental and cultural fields. Their voluntary service takes place in another country, for a period of 6 to 12 months (long term). There are no preconditions in terms of qualifications or social background for young people taking part in. One of the most important priorities of the programme is to give access to activities through short term (minimum period of 3 weeks to a maximum of 6 months) EVS to young people with fewer opportunities, who can choose to then go on a long-term EVS project.

The main aims of EVS are to help young people become more integrated into society, to develop a service that will benefit the community in humanitarian, social and cultural ways, and to link and strengthen organisations working for the public good throughout Europe.

EVS partners
There are three partners in the EVS action: the volunteer, the Sending Organisation and the Host Organisation.

Volunteers are aged between 18-25, and have to be legally resident in an eligible country. They are voluntarily committed to an experience of active citizenship and non-formal education with a view to acquiring social, intercultural and personal skills. Volunteers should embark on this experience with an open mind, a willingness to learn and appreciate another culture, to integrate into a foreign community, as well as actively take part in actions beneficial to the local community. Volunteers will contribute by sharing their own culture, their own personal skills and by giving their time, energy and enthusiasm.

The Sending Organisation can be any type of non-governmental organisation, an association, a local authority or any non-profit-making local initiative. They are responsible for publicising the programme, recruiting young people and seeking suitable host placements. They also provide initial training and preparation, arrange travel for the volunteer, maintain contact during the voluntary service period and make arrangements for the volunteer's re-entry to the UK when their assignment ends. They are expected to help young people validate and use their experience by providing suitable follow-up on their return.

Once the young person has decided that he/she wants to become an EVS volunteer they should contact the UK National Agency and will be sent a list of approved UK Sending Organisations. They should then identify the organisation nearest to their named place of residence, and contact them-a personal visit may be requested. General procedures will be explained by the Sending Organisation who will assist the potential volunteer look for a Host Organisation of their choice.

The Host Organisation is located in the place where the volunteer undertakes his/her voluntary service. Host Organisations cover a wide range of non-profit making activities in the social, environmental and cultural fields, which are likely to have a direct impact on the well being of the populations of the local hosting community. Any type of non-governmental organisation, an association, a local authority or any non-profit-making local initiative can apply to be a Host Organisation.

Host Organisation's are responsible for arranging on-arrival training with the approved EVS trainers. They will provide: personal support to help volunteers integrate into the local community and facilitate the opportunity to meet local young people and other EVS volunteers, continuous supervision, a mentor who will advise on any difficulties, language training and suitable board/lodging.

What is unique about short-term projects?
The aim is to facilitate European volunteering to young people who have individual difficulties, or have experienced or are in difficult circumstances. Sending/Hosting Organisations taking part in short-term EVS should have clearly defined pedagogical objectives and characteristics which will enable young people a chance to integrate more actively into society and act as a stepping stone to other opportunities as well as long-term EVS.

Support offered to Organisations
The Youth programme fervently supports the participation of new youth groups who may not have had previous international experience. It supports the training of youth workers and leaders in project management and in the learning of intercultural working methods for all approved EVS Sending and Host Organisations.

EVS partnerships between Sending and Host Organisations are encouraged through participating in preparatory visits and co-funding is available under Action 5: Support Measures.

Other opportunities (special criteria's are applicable to these activities)
Multilateral projects: activities involving partner organisations from several different eligible countries, which agree to exchange volunteers amongst themselves.

Special event projects: consist of several volunteering places that are linked to some specific high profile event.

EVS with third countries: creating a sense of solidarity among young people from the European Union, the European Economic Area and people from other regions of the world.

What is the cost?
There is no cost to the young person. The Sending/Hosting Organisations and the European Union co-fund the volunteer's EVS experience.

How to apply
If you wish to become a volunteer under the European Voluntary Service contact a UK Sending Organisation closest to where you live.

If you are interested in becoming an approved Sending/Host Organisation under the European Voluntary Service Action contact us for more details.

You can also download the relevant application form below.

Application forms

1. Application for Sending organisations
2. Application for Europe-wide and Third Country projects
3. Application for Expression of interest for Host Organisation
4. Application for Host organisations

What happens after European Voluntary Service?
All volunteers that complete their EVS project will receive a certificate signed by the member of the European Commission responsible for the Youth Programme. The certificate will state the period of voluntary service and also activities done by the volunteer.

The volunteer on successful completion of EVS will also have the opportunity to apply under Action 3: Youth Initiatives for a Future Capital grant to further expand on their EVS experience.

For further information, contact:

Connect Youth
British Council
10 Spring Gardens
London SW1A 2BN

Telephone +44 (0) 20 7389 4030
Fax +44 (0) 20 7389 4033
E-mail connectyouth.enquiries@britishcouncil.org



The British Council © 1999. The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for educational and cultural relations. Registered in England as a Charity.