LP third meeting

Short report from the third Partnership Meeting of the Learning Partnership "Learning through Volunteering"
21.-25.9.2013 in Cheltenham


The third meeting of the Grundtvig program took place in Cheltenham and mainly consisted of group work to share experiences in volunteering we all have collected in our countries and several visits to organisations with outstanding examples of volunteering in England.

Saturday 21st September 2013
On Saturday we arrived in Cheltenham to first have a rest from the travelling and those who took part in one of the meetings for the first time were given a chance to get to know the group.

Sunday 22st September 2013
On Sunday, everyone gathered at the Global Footsteps Café where we shortly talked about the best practice and the English group gave us an introduction to what was planned for the next couple of days. Shortly after, a presentation about the Global Footsteps Café's history, current work and the building was given.

Later that day we made a trip to the Cathedral in Gloucester to learn about the volunteers there and about their motivations for volunteering while we took part in a tour around the cathedral and its crypt.

For the final trip on sunday we went to the Waterways Museum in Gloucester to talk about its history and its current activities, and to learn about how its staff largely consisted of volunteers making its existence possible. Again, we discussed the motivational aspect of this example of major voluntary work.

Monday 23st September 2013


On Monday, the trip led us to the Butterfly Garden, a charity organisation, primarily consisting of gardening

work, that has countless volunteers. We talked to the creator of the project about how these volunteers themselves, many of which were dealing with disablements, benefit from the Butterfly Garden and their work there. We had a chance to witness an inspiring example of a growing volunteering project with a remarkable impact.

Afterwards, we had a short walk in the Cotswolds after driving up Crickley Hill. We learned a bit about the hill's history and got some information from a local volunteer working in the region's small tourist center.

In the afternoon we had a meeting concerning the best practice guide in the Quaker Meeting House where we continued our discussion about its content and about what we aim for the with the idea of best practice in volunteering. Right after we had the chance to talk to Martin Horwood, the Member of Parliament for the Cheltenham constituency, about his perception of volunteering in Cheltenham from a political perspective.

Tuesday 24st September 2013

P1040290kleinerOn Tuesday we were all picked up to visit the Toddington railway Station in Gloucestershire to learn not only about its history and its meaning to locals, but also about how it is primarily run by passionate volunteers that live out their passion for the locomotives by voluntarily keeping the station going and working to expand it as a tourist attraction, among other things. Once again, we had the opportunity to ask about their motivation for volunteering.

Before we had lunch, we also went to Cheltenham's Municipal Offices to talk to the mayor Wendy Flynn, who responded to any questions we had concerning voluntary work in Cheltenham and its value to the community, and how she, as mayor of Cheltenham, perceives that topic and handles it politically.

After lunch we got together for the final discussion about the best practice guide, where we eventually more or less settled on the content of the guide and its general layout. Furthermore, we decided about an editorial team that is responsible for further work on the guide until it can be finalized in the final meeting in Poland.

 At last, the final group activity that day was a Charity Shop Challenge for which we created random and mixed groups. In these groups, we walked around Cheltenham to visit a number of charity shops and interviewed the staff, almost exclusively consisting of volunteers, about their reasons to do voluntary work, how they benefit from it and how they ended up doing it in the first place. As every group completed their short tour, we eventually met at Global Footsteps to exchange our interview results and our impressions of local volunteering in these shops.

Wednesday 25th September 2013
Final breakfast at Racecourse and departure.

LP second meeting

Short-Report from the second Partnership Meeting of the Learning Partnership "Learning through Volunteering" in cooperation with Youth empowerment through EVS
14.-19.4.2013 in Cadca


The second meeting of the Grundtvig program was coupled with a meeting of the Youth in Action program.
This was a very good decision, you could learn more about volunteering in other countries, share experiences and take new ideas back home.
All in all, was the second meeting in Slovakia, Cadca very successful.

Sunday 14th April 2013

Monday 15th April 2013
On Monday, the first working session of EVS and the Grundtvig group started. It was reported spilled and planned actions around the issues of volunteering, sustainability and interculturality in the various organizations. After that presented the organization KERIC, from building to this day.
After lunch presentations were prepared and held by all organizations.

Tuesday 16th April 2013
On Tuesday offered an honest varied program: First, there was an EVS / Grundtvig working session. Then we met the mayor of Cadca and we were able to share with him personally on various topics.
We visited on Tuesday afternoon, several NGO's in the nearest major city - Zilina. There, the time for sightseeing was not too short.

Wednesday 17th April 2013

The Wednesday offered an individual offer in small groups: visiting local NGOs, various local volunteering or hosting EVS places, activities in the labor office.After a break we went up with the workshop on the move: a bit of walking and working. That was a very nice experience. You could replace each other well and gain new experiences. Also you could on this trip a lot about other people and learn manners but also discuss many things.

Thursday 18th April 2013
On Wednesday we started with physical exercise: to the mountains! Here was place for discussions, exchange, etc. as the day before.
After that we finalized the outcomes of the training and each participant had to write an evaluation of the meeting.
In the evening we had intercultural presentations. Everybody brought some specialties from their countries to show.

Friday 19th April 2013

LP fourth meeting

Short report from the fourth and final Partnership Meeting of the Learning Partnership "Learning through Volunteering"

6-10.04.2014 in Toruń, Poland.


The fourth meeting of the GRUNDTVIG program took place in Toruń and mainly consisted of discussions and workshops to finish the good practice guide project and several visits to organizations with outstanding examples of volunteering in Toruń and the region Kuyavian-Pomeranian .

Sunday 6th April 2014

On Sunday evening we arrived in Toruń central station and took a taxi to Barbarka, which is an old woodland settlement in the northern outskirts of Toruń. There resides the environmental NGO Tilia, which has a hostel where we all got our bedrooms. Before the delicious polish dinner we met all the other meeting participants from England, Slovakia and Poland. After dinner Jaroslaw Kowalik, who organized this fourth meeting, made a presentation of the plans for the following three days.


Monday 7th April 2014


On Monday after breakfast we went with the bus to the Feniks foundation. The foundation’s site is located in Kijaszkowo - about 35 km from Torun - in a sort of “ranch”, which the members renovated and built on their own. The ranch is made up of a house, a stable, a garden and a meadow for the three horses. There we met Kasia Śmigielska, the founder, and two other members of the foundation. After a very pleasant welcome they introduced themselves and explained us the story of the foundation as well as their projects. The main aim of their work is to combine the world of the disabled with and integrate it into the world of the healthy. Among other things they work on recycling objects to give them a second life. As an example we learned how to make a basket or a table mat with old newspapers. On the afternoon we could visit the Feniks foundation’s gallery, which is situated in the city central of Toruń and where the foundation sells its objects for a few zloty.

If you want to know more about Feniks : www.fundacja-feniks.org

After lunch we visited a second foundation called Ducha that also works with disabled children. Two members of the foundation explained us their main activity. They offer a therapy for disabled persons based on a combination of horseriding (hippotherapy) and climbing. About fourty volunteers help the foundation and organize many workshops and other projects like hiking and summer camps.

More information about Ducha under: www.fundacjaducha.pl

Later that day we went back to Barbarka for dinner and discussed the final version of the “best practice guide”. Everybody made some suggestions on improving the document and we agreed upon the essential points we needed to add to the guide.

In the evening we had a beautiful surprise: Jaroslaw prepared a nice campfire with appropriate food. We had some sausages to grill and various delicious salads. We all had sat down around the fire and started singing in different languages.


Tuesday 8th April 2014


On tuesday we were invited to an interesting conference at the Marshal’s office of Toruń. We met Piotr Calbecki, a polish politician who is a current member of Kuyavian-Pomeranian regional assembly and other local government delegates. Mr. Calbecki made a speech about his politics and the significance of the local and regional NGOs. After that, each organization introduced itself and spoke about its projects.

Afterwards we took part in an interesting forum about social economy with the local and regional institutions. We talked about several topics like the presentation of social economy institutions and also discussed social policy. We learned a bit about the center of social economy support from Toruń.

In the afternoon we explored the town. Right after that we had the chance to visit the Gingerbread museum. We learned how to make the original gingerbread of Toruń. All of us made their own gingerbread.

After that we went back to Barbarka for dinner and continued our discussion about the final project of the “best practice guide”.


Wednesday 9th April 2014

On wednesday morning the bravest of us made a ropes course in the trees of Barbarka. After this sporting activity we were all picked up to go to the Marshal’s office to have a final discussion about the GRUNDTVIG project and to make some conclusions about the “best practice guide”. During our meeting we were visited by Jacek Rostowski, Polands former finance minister and deputy prime-minister who had a short discussion with us and gave us the opportunity to ask questions. He gave us his point of view about social economy. At last we had a discussion about Poland’s 1% income tax donation for NGOs.

After lunch we visited the University of Nicolaus Copernicus and had the opportunity to meet two student organizations which primarily work with volunteers. The first one was called “Od Nowa” and is in charge for organizing the culture animations of the campus, like concerts, movie projection as well as theatre performance and art exhibition. We questioned two volunteers, who explained us their motivation and functions as voluntary workers.


You want to know more about “Od Nowa”? Have a look here: www.odnowa.umk.pl

After that we met the second student association, which is an international association called Aiesec. After a presentation of their primary aims we listened to three reports from volunteers. The first volunteer came from Argentina, another one related us his experience in Russia. And a young Tunisian teacher told us about his experience in Poland.

More about Aiesec under: www.aiesec.org

At the end of the day we were expected in the city center at the Jan Olbracht brewery-restaurant. For our last evening in Toruń we enjoyed some typical polish dishes and tasted some of the brewed beers. At last we thanked Jaroslaw and the other Tilia members for their warm welcome and outstanding organization and gave them some souvenirs from Göttingen.

Thursday 10th  April 2014

Final breakfast at Barbaka and last walk in the woods. Final discussion about the GRUNDTVIG project: impressions, observations, improvement propositions, etc. Lunch close to the central station of Toruń and departure with the train.


LP first meeting

Short-Report from the first Partnership Meeting of the

Learning Partnership “Learning through Volunteering”

21.10. – 25.10.2012 in Göttingen

The first meeting of the Learning Partnership in Göttingen was a very interesting experience.We discussed a lot about differences on subjects like Volunteering, Interculturality and Sustainability in different countries. In addition to that, we did a training on Global Learning. We although had enough free time which we used to explore Göttingen and its surrounding areas. In this way, discussions with the international groups were stimulated.

Monday 22.10.

DSCN1183On Monday, all organizations gave a short presentation on their work.
A common understanding and working principle of different perspectives on "Volunteering", "Interculturality" and "Sustainability" has been developed for the Learning Partnership. We set expectations and goals we want to achieve in the LP: eg Global Objectives, methods, and different audiences.
In the afternoon, Dorit Battermann explained different methods such as how to work with participants in seminars on Global Learning.


Tuesday 23.10.

On Tuesday we attended two excursions: 


At first, there was a very informative talk on the Bioenergy Village Jühnde. It was explained how the Bioenergy Village Jühnde works, the idea behind it and how the citizens were convinced. After the discussion, we could see the whole bioenergy production facility. The idea of the Bioenergy Village came from the University of Göttingen, more precisely, from the IZNE-Interdisciplinary center for sustainable development. The initiators and village citizens formed working groups in different areas to prepare the energy change in the village.

After that, we went to the Weltladen. A shop selling fair trade products with a coffee shop run by voluntary people. An employee of the shop informed us about development, financing and voluntary work.

The store is organized through working groups and run mainly by volunteers. They offer a broad range of products from food to clothing and textiles of any kind, to arts and crafts and accessories, etc. All products are produced under Fair Trade conditions, controlled through independent evaluation institutes. In addition to the sale of goods, information sessions on Fair Trade, intercultural or ecological issues are held on a regular basis.

Wednesday 24.10.

PICT0019On Wednesday we did two excursions. We started with the International Gardens and then paid a visit to the neighborhood center in the Grone district.

The International Gardens in Göttingen are places where refugees, migrants and also German families work together in gardening. The relationships through intercultural cooperation form and provide positive examples for the understanding, integration and practical solidarity of the German population with migrants and refugees. The project is committed to inclusion and social integration of refugee and immigrant families.

The Neighbourhood Center in Grone is a focal point and a popular meeting place for people of every age and cultural affiliation. The focus is on community development, promotion of civic engagements, responsibility for the residential environment and people, networking, organization and implementation of education and culture. The center organises various programs such as language and computer courses, legal and pension consultancy services etc. and the residents can develop and implement their own ideas. The members of the centre are volunteers.
There was a feedback session to the excursions and a second meeting where organizational issues were clarified.