How does the European Solidarity Corps compare to the European Voluntary Service?

Did you know that you can still use your European Voluntary Service (EVS) or Erasmus+ volunteering accreditation to apply for Volunteering Projects funding under the European Solidarity Corps?

The next deadline is 1 October 2020 (11am, UK time). 

Organisations who applied for EVS and volunteering projects under Erasmus+ will recall the introduction of the European Solidarity Corps in the UK in 2018 as a new initiative dedicated to young people to provide enriching opportunities with organisations involved in social action. 

One and a half years on, we have seen a steady increase in funding for Solidarity Corps, with organisations across the UK taking advantage of the flexibility of the initiative to address social challenges, and providing valuable opportunities for young people to make a difference. Now is the time for your organisation to benefit from it too – read on to find out.

Comparing EVS and European Solidarity Corps

If your organisation was previously involved in EVS and you have yet to look into the Solidarity Corps, the team have prepared a resource to give you a head start. It highlights the key similarities and changes, so you can see at a glance how the two compare.

Graphic on the differences and similarities between EVS and European Solidarity Corps volunteering strand

Volunteering Projects under the Solidarity Corps have a lot of similarities to EVS. They involve the same mobility activities, so volunteering can take place with individual volunteers or a group of volunteers. Complementary Activities, such as workshops and training courses, can also take place to add value and augment the results of the project, as well as strengthen its impact.

The Solidarity Corps aims to simplify the application process, since EVS, and make funding more flexible for organisations, as well as increase inclusion to widen participation of young people. The key differences are:

  • Applicants can hold accreditation for any role – supporting or host role;
  • partners do not have to be identified at application stage;
  • no partner mandates required; and
  • open to young people aged 18-30, however young people can register to take part from 17 years old, as long as they are aged 18-30 years at the start of the activity.

The most notable changes to promote inclusion and widen participation are:

  • Group volunteering activities can take place with 10-40 participants (instead of up to 30 participants); and
  • In-country activities are permitted. Opportunities are not only available for young people to undertake full time, unpaid voluntary work in another country (called cross-border activities), but these activities can take place  in the UK too, by UK residents!

These changes allow organisations more flexibility in recruiting volunteers and to involve participants with fewer opportunities. 

Two young volunteers serving food as part of their placement

Accreditation for Volunteering Projects

Although current Erasmus+ volunteering or EVS accreditation and Quality Label certification are due to expire on 31 December 2020, the European Commission has announced that these will be automatically extended to 31 December 2021, and will therefore cover activities funded in the 1 October 2020 deadline. This means:

  • Successful applicants can complete projects funded under the current programmes (2014-2020) with their existing accreditation or certification, even if the project end date is after 2021. 
  • Partner organisations can use their current accreditation to take part in activities or mobilities funded under the current programme. 

Organisations without any existing Erasmus+ volunteering or EVS accreditation must apply for a Quality Label first, in order to apply for European Solidarity Corps funding on 1 October. 

Discover more about Volunteering Projects

You can find out more about Volunteering Projects in less than 5 minutes by watching the video below.

Did you know the European Solidarity Corps programme also offers a strand called Traineeships and Jobs? Discover more about the occupational strand of the programme.