In December 2019, I was excited to pencil in my diary March 30th and 31st 2020 and I was looking forward to spending two days in Dublin. Our international team was supposed to meet for the second partners meeting as part of the new Erasmus+ project we were all been working on – Family Volunteering. Unfortunately, as time passed by and we were faced with the outbreak of COVID-19, a lot of things changed over-night. This global issue influenced how the meeting would be delivered, and with no flights allowed out of most countries around the world, the decision was made- we wanted to virtually host the two-day meeting as a shortened down half-day version via Zoom. Working out of the office did not mean we could not, work out of the office!
So there we were – 13 people from 6 countries all sat down and virtually shared how the effects of COVID-19 has impacted our countries and how it is changing how we work and live day to day. More than that, we wanted to understand how such a big challenge will transform the delivery of the Family Volunteering, a project which we are striving to complete with success! It was interesting to hear the similarities across the partner countries. We have learned that there is a higher demand in people looking to volunteer and that although there are thousands of people wishing to volunteer and give their time for a good cause, organizations are overwhelmed and don’t seem to have the capacity to respond to or allocate roles during this crisis. Specifically, the impacts of COVID-19 on this project was flagged and we mainly focused on project deadlines and tasks which will now be pushed out and the financial implications to the overall budget. The overall aim of this project is to provide opportunities to adults and their families through family volunteering using various volunteering activities, tools, and methods.
Therefore, we must continue to do what we can online and, in the meantime plan a bucket load of online work and prepare to deliver our Family Volunteering activities when it is safe and possible to work back within society again. Despite everything that is going on in the world right now, it is such an inspiration to see our project team continuing to work for what they stand for and we can’t wait to share the results of our work with you!
Article written by Niamh Byrne, Volunteer Ireland