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.