With the 2019 European Youth Week underway, promoting youth activities on democratic engagement and social action, we look into how young people can be active by taking part in a Solidarity Project.
Do you want to engage with your local community? Are you interested in developing your skillset? Would you like to have your voice heard? Take part in a Solidarity Project and make a difference to the people around you!
Solidarity Projects are a new type of activity under the European Solidarity Corps that enable young people to develop and implement projects in their local communities in the UK. By creating such projects, groups of young people have the chance to respond to the issues and challenges around them in new and creative ways.
Whether its unemployment, climate change, homelessness or the integration of migrants, the possibilities are endless! Participation in a Solidarity Project can be a great opportunity to boost your personal and professional development while taking social action.
What could my project look like?
At the heart of a Solidarity Project is the desire to bring positive change in your local community. The project should have a clearly identified topic which the group of young people will explore together and which can be translated into concrete daily activities. Groups should decide independently on working methods and how the project will be managed for the preparation, implementation and dissemination of the activity.
A group of young people can submit their own application or they can seek support from an organisation to apply on their behalf. What’s more, young people carrying out a Solidarity Project may be supported by a coach. Coaches can be volunteers or professionals and may aid the group in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of their project.
At the heart of a Solidarity Project is the desire to bring positive change in your local community.
Need inspiration? Take a look at the following example of a Youth Initiatives project from the predecessor programme ‘Youth in Action’, which had similar elements to Solidarity Projects (such as the help of a coach and the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities).
Spotlight on: Aunty Social – Blackpool, UK
In her hometown of Blackpool, Catherine Mugonyi wanted to help the young people in her local community.
With the help of six friends, she set up Aunty Social, a pop-up cultural club that gave young people the opportunity to engage in a range of activities and workshops. From knitting clubs and craft sessions to film screenings and DJ events, Aunty Social has provided a safe space for the young population on the Fylde Coast.
“For me, the best aspect of Aunty Social is that we are offering young people a different kind of experience of the city”, said Catherine in this case study (99 KB) published at the time, “We are inspiring them to unlock their creative side, develop their skills, whilst having fun, bringing different sections of the community together.”
Fast forward five years and what started out as a simple idea has now transformed into something much bigger. Today, Aunty Social is a thriving community project which has reached over 600 young people on the Fylde Coast and is continuing to grow year on year!
It sounds great, but where do I begin?
If you have an idea for a project and would like to submit an application for funding, make sure that your Solidarity Project, meets the following criteria:
- Find a group of at least five young people in your local area who are aged between 18 and 30 years.
- Ensure that each person is registered on the European Solidarity Corps Portal.
- Develop a project that will last between two and 12 months and is located in the UK.
- Complete a project application form and submit it before one of the deadlines.
Feeling inspired to start your own project? Find out more on the Run your own project page.