In order to present at the International Conference “Participatory local welfare, citizenship and third sector organizations“, in Pisa (Italy) in January 2013, that was supported by several of our Italian member organisations, (CEV) carried out the study “The changing perspectives, in the context of the economic crisis and consequential austerity measures, on the role of volunteer organizations in the delivery of welfare services”. The aim was to analyse whether volunteering is being instrumentalised for the delivery of welfare services[1] as austerity measures[2] intensify.

The decision to launch the study to inquire into the issue of whether and how austerity measures influence the delivery of welfare services, and the roles of volunteers in this context, was made following recognition within CEV that this was a topic touched upon, but not sufficiently documented or studied.  Mainly anecdotal evidence from professionals and volunteers in the voluntary sector about the effects of the economic crisis on their work and roles inspired the commissioning of the present report.

Moreover, the Policy Agenda for Volunteering in Europe (P.A.V.E) drafted during the European Year of Volunteering 2011 submitted that “the crisis is forcing governments to re-assess the European Social Model” and that “in some spheres the debate has led to suggestions that volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations can and should deliver services instead of the state”.

The online CEV Volunteering Infrastructure Publication compiles reports on the different volunteer support systems in place across several European countries.  The report highlighted that the legal and financial frameworks as well as the operational spheres for volunteer organisations are going through an unprecedented period of change.  The publication however, whilst alluding to a causal link to the economic crisis and resulting austerity measures, failed to identify reliable evidence pointing to common causes for this trend.

The results of the study showed that in order to reach more reliable conclusions further triangulation of results must be facilitated and therefore further data needs to be collected and analysed. The meeting of CEV members in Turin in on 2 and 3 October 2014 will provide an ideal opportunity for this.

CEV members and other conference participants will be invited to share evidence from their countries and discuss the topic: “European Welfare States in times of Crisis – What impact for volunteering?”

[2] Austerity measures- official action by a government to reduce the amount of money it spends, or the amount of money that people in a country spend. It also refers to a policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending via a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided.

CEV General Assembly and Policy Conference:
Volunteering in European Welfare & Social Services (VIEWSS)
2-3 October 2014,  Turin, Italy
Hosted by: CSVnet, “Idea Solidale” and “VSSP” Volunteer Support Centre


Programme and briefing documents

English Italian
  • A video preview of the VIEWSS conference is available here (you can find the Italian script for the video here).
  • Venues:
General Assembly VIEWSS
Via Giolitti 21,
10123 Turin, Italy
Piazza dei Mestieri
Via Jacopo Durandi 13,
10144 Turin, Italy