Possibly from January 2016 for 12 months service
15 August 2015
Samverket is a voluntary mix of organisations, organised and unorganised people, while being a place for people to come together and find friends via different social activities. Samverket voluntary social work in the municipality of Åmål is an important complement to society’s services in elderly homes, local schools, as well as in direct work with unemployed and handicapped people.
The purpose of Samverket is to provide space in order to get in touch with people who are lonely and isolated; increase the quality of life for marginalized groups, elderly, people with various needs, for instance, physically handicapped, immigrants, the unemployed, senior citizens and others; support nursing relatives or friends who want to meet others in the same situation; stimulate voluntary interest to be complementary to public service as a method of creating a good society.
At Samverket we are two persons working, both as volunteer coordinators.
Samverket is an organisation where we have a group of 400 volunteers that are part of our workforce, we also have around 60 companies that we often do different kinds of collaborations with.
A typical day at Samverket is quite hard to define since we do a lot of different things in our organization.
Amongst the things we tend to do, the following are recurring parts of our days/weeks.
– Meetings are a common thing in the everyday work.
– Interviews of new volunteers, as well as meetings and follow-ups with relatively new volunteers on what is going on, and what they are planned to be involved with in the near future also is a common thing.
– Planning and arranging different projects in the town of Åmål as well as coordinating the work of our volunteers.
– Work and project evaluations with already involved volunteers, this kind of follow-up is to see if there are any problems or changes that need to be done at the places where our volunteers are currently working.
– Part-taking in different kinds of international work in collaboration with different international organizations and/or groups is a recurring thing for our organization and us as coordinators.
– Making of schedules for our volunteers.
– In our work we are often in contact with different organization/companies, and often we also tend to collaborate with them in different projects that we arrange.
Åmål is situated in the western part of Sweden at the shore of the big Lake Vänern. In the Municipality there are around 13.000 inhabitants and in the City of Åmål around 10.000.
With its beautiful location on Lake Vänern and downtown harbor, Åmål is an idyllic small town. There is a wide range of activities to choose from: boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, biking, horseback riding, to name a few. There are also many music and art events that highlight the rich cultural community in Åmål: The International Blues Fest, Art Walk, Book Festival, Culture Festival, and more.
Most of the evening activities in Åmål are taking place during summer. In wintertime it is quite calm in the town and not so many evening activities are taking place.
The next bigger town is Karlstad and is about one hour away by train. Gothenburg can be reached by train within 1,5 hours.
Working at SAMVERKET the volunteers through the project activities will get in contact with people who have difficulties in their everyday life, people that are struggling and have obstacles of different kind. Here the volunteers will be an extra helping hand and a complement to the society and for those people who are in the need of support and care.
The volunteers will live in a shared apartment with other volunteers or in a single apartment that is fully equipped. The volunteers get food allowance and pocket money every month so that they can but their food for themselves.
Åmål is a small town so it is short distances between the apartment and work so the volunteers can easily walk.
Service and learning opportunities
Since Samverket is an organisation that works a lot with personal contacts it is believed that the volunteers working there will get more secure in their meetings with other people. They will also by helping people that are lonely and isolated grow as persons and believe in what they are doing. We want the volunteers to learn not to take everything for granted, that there are people in this world that struggle for surviving each day. We want them to appreciate what they got and that they shall be open-minded and tolerant to all people no matter what religion they believe or what cultural background they have.
The Europe Direct-office in Åmål as the coordinating organisation in Samverket EVS project will be responsible for accommodation, local transports and training in Swedish language for the volunteers.
Voluntary activities that volunteers can get involved in is a wide range from study circles, music-café, bingo games to reading for children and helping in fitness classes for elderly people. Volunteers are very welcome to create their own projects and activities that would gather locals and contribute to Åmål. It can be anything beneficiary to children, young people, elderly people, handicapped, unemployed etc.
The volunteers will have a work placement leader at Samverket who is responsible in finding suitable work placements for the volunteers. The volunteers will have regular meetings (once a week) with the work placement leaders to talk about how it is going at work. At each working place there will be a contact person who has tight contact both with the volunteer and the work placement leader at Samverket. The contact person at each working place will be responsible of helping the volunteer, explaining tasks and make sure that everything is running smoothly.
The EVS volunteers role in the Host Organisation
The intercultural project at SAMVERKET is all about getting in touch with people who are lonely and isolated, increase the quality of life for exposed groups, elderly, and people with various needs for instance invalids, immigrants, the unemployed, senior citizens and others. Support relatives nursing sick, disabled or people with dementia at home, stimulate voluntary interest to be complementary to public service as a method of creating the good society.
To be able to reach these vulnerable and isolated people the organisation together with the volunteers arranges Study circles, Memory training, Summer excursions, House calls, music cafés, coffee rooms, Christmas celebration, music entertainment at various senior homes, Parish meetings- get together with coffee and entertainment, practical activities, baking ginger biscuits, cooking etc. Computer Science, fitness training, develop within the volunteers own wish, for example support to youths.
Volunteers have an important role in the organisation because they will be a helping hand for the Samverket team and will have the possibility to present their own country, culture and traditions to local citizens, which will encourage the learning experience for Swedish people.
The volunteer will get a schedule which is set up together with the working mentors in the beginning of the project. The role of the volunteer is to support and be an extra resource at their different working placements that belong to Samverkets organisation (e.g. elderly home. Red Cross, youth group at church, kindergarten, etc.). The responsibility the volunteers have is to be in time at work and to respect the rules at the working places. The working tasks will depend on the different working places. At the elderly home the volunteer might do bingo café or music café, play games with the elderly people, go for a walk with them. At the kindergarten the volunteer will play games with the kids and join other activities. Within the big brother/big sister-project the volunteer is a support for a teenager and they do different activities together (go to the cinema, drink coffee, etc). The final schedule will be set together with the work placement leaders and the volunteer so that everybody gets out the most of the voluntary period. The schedule is flexible and can be changed together with the work placement leaders if necessary.
One of the goals with the voluntary service at Samverket is to get an insight into the different organisations in the municipality and get in touch with people from the different age groups.
The working mentors are responsible for the coordination of the voluntary work in Åmåls kommun and the follow-up and evaluation, the volunteers will support the different working places where voluntary work is needed. At each working place the volunteers will have a contact person who is also in contact with their working mentors.
Typical activities/tasks for the volunteers
Where exactly the volunteer will be placed within the organisation depends on the volunteer´s personality and interest. The volunteers working with the intercultural projects will have an introduction the first week to get all the information needed to be able to be a part of the project. The work placement leader makes sure that the volunteers get into the project very well and that they feel secure in what they do. Meetings will be held with the work placement leader once a week to make sure that the volunteers are feeling comfortable. By having meetings they can also discuss positive and negative effects of the project and it makes it easier than in the end for the evaluation of the project.
The typical activities / tasks for the volunteers range from taking care of children at the kindergarten, organizing music and cultural events, becoming big brother or big sister for children and young people, being a helping hand and an asset in international learning and experience sharing, doing bingo-café, music café, working with the youth group of the church, do break activities with the kids at school, being at elderly homes, join walking groups with elderly people, visit elderly people who are lonely etc, work in different associations and organisations that are part of Samverket.
The volunteers will also give presentations at school about their home country and cultures.
The volunteers have also the chance to initiate their own project if they are interested to do so. If they want to do their own project the volunteers will get as much support from the working mentors as needed.
Daily schedule is 08.30-16.00, some evenings of weekends might be a part of activities and if so the next working day is off. Working time per week is 35 hours including Swedish language course 2 or 3 hours. If the volunteer works in the evening he/she will get off during daytime another day. The volunteers are allowed to have four weeks off during a year period. The volunteers live either together in one apartment or have a small apartment on their own. Åmål is small so it is easy for the volunteers to go home for lunch. There is also a possibility to bring a lunch box to work.
A typical week can look like this:
8:30 – 12:00 work at kindergarten
12:00 – 13:00 lunch
13:00 – 16:00 work at kindergarten
8:30 – 12:00 work at kindergarten
12:00 – 13:00 lunch
13:00 – 15:00 work at kindergarten
15:00 – 16:00 Swedish class
8:30 – 12:00 work at elderly home
12:00 – 13:00 lunch
13:00 – 15:00 bingo and music café
15:00 – 16:00 meeting with working mentor
10:00 – 13:00 work at the Red Cross
13:00 – 14:00 lunch
14:00 – 17:00 work at the Red Cross
17:00 – 18:00 Swedish lesson
8:30 – 10:00 join elderly walking group
10:00 – 12:00 café at pensioner organisation
12:00 – 13:00 lunch
13:00 – 15:00 big brother, big sister
All the interested volunteers get information about our project and an application form sent to them by us. A date is set for them to fill in and be ready with the application so we have the time to select the ones appropriate for our project. To make the selection as fair as possible a working group with persons from all the working placements is set up to decide which volunteers fit our profile best. There is a telephone interview organised with the candidates, in order to get the feel of personality of volunteers. The working group tries to select volunteers from different countries of different gender and ethnical background to prevent discrimination among the volunteers. We believe that if two people from the same country get together they will miss out a lot of things and maybe only speak in their language which could lead to a situation where the other volunteers feel left outside. Its better if everyone are here on the same conditions. The volunteers get selected from their interest and personality suitable for the placement. We want persons interested in the specific area that they applied for. That means that volunteers applying for Samverket should have an interest in volunteering in the social welfare sector. Apart from that a strong motivation, creative self-presentation and a wish to contribute to Samverket are important factors in choosing the volunteers.
NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS HOSTED:
Samverket is working both with large number of local Swedish volunteers and international EVS volunteers. In order to ensure a successful integration of EVS volunteers it is seen that two at a time is the best model how hosting organisation works most efficiently. Samverket work mentors take care of volunteers and help them interact and integrate in Swedish community.
RISK PREVENTION, PROTECTION AND SAFETY:
The coordinating organisation Åmåls kommun / Europa Direkt Fyrbodal have prepared Samverket for different situations that can occur:
1. The volunteer gets sick.
The mentor or the work leader will make sure that the volunteer gets medical treatment right away. If case of emergency the closest relative will be contacted immediately by the mentor. He or she will be in close contact with the volunteer at all times and if necessary also with the volunteers family. Different emergency measures will be set up if the tragedy is a fact: The mentor will contact the family and make sure that someone from their country will be aware of the situation and be there to help the family. An emergency group will be set up with personal from the church and the social welfare to take care of the other volunteers and talk with them about what has happened.
2. Drug and alcohol abuse.
The work manager will together with the mentor discuss the problems that has occurred with the volunteer to see what lies behind the special behavior. The mentor, to make sure that they are aware of the situation, will also contact the family. Help will be available from the social welfare officers at the house of youth.
The mentor will set up a schedule with a lot of different activities for the volunteer to make sure that he or she will feel that they are a part of the society. Together with the work manager and the mentor the volunteer will discuss whatever can make the situation better. The tutor makes sure that the volunteer meets youths from Åmål to hang out with and also haves a continuous contact with the volunteer at all times to make him or her to feel at home.
4. The volunteer feels uncomfortable.
As mentioned above the mentor will set up a schedule with a lot of different activities for the volunteer to make sure that he or she will feel that they are a part of the society. The tutor and the work manager will discuss with the volunteer the current situation and the possibilities to make it better. There will always be an option to change the work placement to another one if problems may occur.
Individual conversations will take place between the mentor and the volunteer once a week to make sure that the volunteer feels like home and that he or she doesn’t feel outside or left alone. The mentor will set up various activities together with all the volunteers for them to get to know each other well and counteract bullying.
6. Absence of the mentors.
Since we have several mentors tutoring the volunteers in the Municipality there won’t be a problem if one of them gets sick or will be absence in one way or another. If the absence continues a new mentor will be recruited.
7. Absence of the work manager.
If the work manager gets sick the work placement will choose one temporally to be there for the volunteers. If the absence continues for a longer time a new person will be recruited.
8. The work placement cases.
A rearrangement will take place in collaboration with the volunteer to any of the other parts of the project.
Building Bridges Association members will have preference, please enroll to the association here.
We will study carefully all application and selected candidates will be invite for Skype interview. The selection of volunteers will take place in the middle of September.
For the selection of the volunteers we will need:
– Europass CV with picture (made in the last month)
– Motivational letter, writing that your sending organisation will be “Building Bridges”. We ask all candidates to send a specific letter of motivation – why they want to volunteer with us rather than just a general EVS one.
– Application form (please download here)
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Remember to write in the motivation letter that your sending institution is “Asociación Building Bridges”.
All documents written in english you can send to: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “EVS Sweeden Social Centre”.