A solid commitment

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

There are several hundred who give of their time to associations. Volunteers who had to put their activities on hold at the height of lockdowns are back on the field. Whatever their motivation, these people want their commitment to be useful for the community and they see the country from a different angle.

The holiday season is just around the corner, and many of us are wondering if we could do more. Donations are pouring, clothes or toys for the most in need, but some want to go further: "We receive a lot of calls at the end of the year from people who want to make donations, but also for volunteering. It is also encouraged by companies offering volunteer days, based on the American model", explains Andrea Beestermöller, volunteer coordinator at Caritas. But when it comes to donating time for the end of year celebrations, as we regularly see in series or films, Luxembourg associations can count on their regular volunteers: "We don't particularly need volunteers during the holidays, but rather throughout the year", adds the coordinator.

Volunteering is widespread in Luxembourg. According to a Statec study conducted in 2015, 47% of the population living in the Grand Duchy had been involved in a voluntary activity in the last twelve months preceding the survey. According to this study, 37% of those questioned declared having already volunteered within the framework of an association (charities, sports clubs, cultural, religious or youth associations) and 30% in an informal setting, i.e. outside any association. Due to the crisis, the need has exploded, but so have vocations.

At Caritas, there are about 240 volunteers today, compared to only about 100 at the beginning of the year. A clear increase that is quite easily explained: "Most of our volunteers are over 60. As this is a vulnerable group, we sent the over-65s home at the peak of the lockdown, until they could be vaccinated. In the meantime, the need has increased and most of them have returned", notes Beestermöller. But the pandemic had an unexpected effect on the sector. While senior citizens were being sheltered, another population showed interest: "In 2020 we had 200 applications, that's huge! Many people on short-time work wanted to take advantage of this period of inactivity to do volunteer work. The needs were high, but our activity only really resumed in June of this year."

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Mäin Element - Phillip Dale