Supporting volunteers from selection to arrival, facilitating peer support and having regular meetings to discuss issues, goals and key competences are some of the best practices implemented at the German YMCA in central London as part of their European Solidarity Corps projects.
Based near Paddington station, this is one of the oldest YMCAs in England, working with both the German-speaking community and the local community. European Solidarity Corps funding supports the German YMCA in giving something back to the community and enabling young people to improve their language skills and soft skills, such as confidence and independence.
Three of these volunteers – Mouna Mouami, Jan Kümmel and Michele Parisi – came from Germany to London for a long-term placement (11 months) and were very positive and enthusiastic about their experience in the UK.
The organisation has implemented significant practices for learning recognition through the implementation of Youthpass and the reinforced mentorship of volunteers.
Every European Solidarity Corps participant can get a Youthpass certificate at the end of their experience, enabling them to reflect on and record their learning and skills development in a way that can be used within and outside of the youth sector, as well as across Europe.
Programme manager Alice Melsheimer and mentor Rachel Shilson talked about their work at the German YMCA and shared some best practices that other organisations can apply in order to make placements even more meaningful for volunteers: