We support and promote volunteerism as a way of life...
Volunteerism is an issue which affects us all, regardless of social status and profession. It encompasses an exceptional educational role that strengthens social cohesion, reinforces the notion of active participation and harmonious coexistence and adds a new element to our lives. It combines "the passion of an amateur, the consistency of a professional, the discipline of a soldier and the selflessness of a progressive human being".
The City of Athens seeks to make a substantial contribution to the efforts made by voluntary organisations as well as independent volunteers who participated in the "Volunteer for Athens" programme or the Athens 2004 Olympic Games volunteer scheme. The municipality has no intention of creating yet another bureaucratic organisation.
We want voluntary organisations to maintain their autonomy while offering individual volunteers an outlet through which to channel their energies. Volunteer action should be organised and involve specific duties, while each participant has the right to cease activity whenever they desire.
Through the effective organisation of our proposed actions, we are confident that we will achieve the solidarity, humanity and cohesion which we all envision and deserve.
We are implementing our goal...by adopting volunteerism as a life choice and encouraging team spirit in an effort to reverse the devaluation of ideals. We aim to develop a relationship between the municipality and volunteerism based on mutual understanding and trust. Volunteerism must not substitute or compete with the municipality's responsibilities, or vice-versa.
We are establishing a "Volunteers' House"...
on municipal property incorporating a secretariat which will provide support and information to volunteers and voluntary non-governmental organisations. The aim of the secretariat is to improve and coordinate activities on a local and international level.
We are reinforcing the municipality's "Volunteer for Athens" programme... which is already in operation.
We are offering volunteers lifelong educational programmes...certified by UNESCO concerning environmental protection, preventive healthcare, tourism, culture, social security, social care and the support of fellow citizens in their everyday lives.
We are instituting a Time Bank...and intend to reward those who offer the greatest number of volunteer hours.
We are setting up local councils in each city district...so volunteer organisations and individual volunteers can make contact in order to resolve problems and develop joint initiatives.
We are creating a registry of volunteers and volunteer organisations...comprising personal data on volunteers, which will remain confidential and be made available only with their consent.
We are instituting volunteer awards...to acknowledge the work of individual volunteers and voluntary organisations.
We provide volunteers with insurance coverage...when they carry out volunteer duties.
We are encouraging non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and volunteer residents' groups...to undertake surveillance of parks and squares in their locality, caring for and protecting them from vandalism and wear and tear, with the support of the municipality.
We are arranging for volunteer groups...in collaboration with the Athens Municipal Police and City District Councils, to take care of squares and parks during hours that citizens are present, in order to further heighten residents' sense of security.
We are introducing a voluntary street work programme...with the participation of experts. The scheme involves the provision of information, counselling and psychosocial support to unemployed and socially-marginalised youth who reside or spend their time in the City of Athens. Volunteers assist them in their search for job opportunities and other alternatives.
We are developing creative workshops...for groups of youths and adolescents and proceeding with the recruitment and training of volunteers for this purpose.
We encourage retired senior citizens to work as volunteers...in all fields of municipal responsibility, depending on their interests and expertise. A significant number of qualified and experienced senior citizens, who are no longer in the workforce, would like to offer their services in key areas of municipal activity. We require their knowledge and experience and will provide them with opportunities to play an active part in the functioning of the City.
We plan to sign a protocol of cooperation with the Church... concerning volunteerism and social welfare.