The model of Novi Sad Volunteer Service – project that should enable implementation of high quality, sustainable and organised work with volunteers in Novi Sad, was presented during the press-conference held on 6 October. Phases in the implementation of the project, which will remain as a legacy of the European capitals for future project, were also discussed. The importance of youth volunteerism, as well as inclusion of young people in programmes that will be implemented by 2019, when Novi Sad will be European Youth Capital, triggered the ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation’s initiative to make the Youth Centre the first object to be built in the Youth Creative Polis.
The cooperation between ‘European Youth Capital – OPENS 2019’ and ‘Novi Sad 2021 – European Capital of Culture’ Foundation is built on trust, through joint initiative and joint goal – to create a model for sustainability of the Novi Sad Volunteer Service, which will be a platform for all citizens of Novi Sad.
Nemanja Milenković, the CEO of the ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation gave the support to the initiative of the ‘Čepom do osmeha’ association, that resulted in a unique mosaic that reached the Guinness proportions. Mr Milenković added that this initiative is the ‘first step in forming a model for the volunteer service, which will remain to Novi Sad as a legacy of European capitals for future projects’. The next joint endeavour of the two capitals will be joint initiative of cleaning the dilapidated ‘Petar Drapšin’ complex. Mr Milenković invites all citizens of Novi Sad to join. In addition, Mr Milenkoivić stressed that the participation of young people is important in programmes that will be implemented in European capitals, and said that ‘the Youth Centre will be the first object to be built in the Youth Creative Polis by 2019, when Novi Sad will become European Youth Capital’. By emphasising that volunteerism is the main thread of a society, around which basic human and universal values like solidarity, humanitarianism, tolerance, advocacy for peace, freedom, justice and security are built, and that it helps in combatting prejudices, stereotypes and barriers between people, both young and old, Mr Milenković stressed once again that the ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation is proud of the cooperation established through this project.
Dejana Baltes, coordinator for volunteers in the Opens, reminded that volunteerism in our country faces problems such as: inadequate work with volunteers, random engagement of volunteers, lack of precisely defined volunteer positions and programmes, lack of adequate support for volunteer work, discrepancy between wishes and interests of volunteers and available activities. By emphasising the importance of creation of the local volunteer service that has been initiated through cooperation of the two European capitals, Ms Baltes stressed that the Novi Sad Volunteer Service will solve these problems and she introduced the coordinator of the future activities – Vojislav Prkosovački.
The new coordinator described the service as a possibility to establish permanent cooperation between volunteers and organisations/institutions that need volunteer support, explained the phases for the implementation of the project and announced first steps: in late October, there will be 5 round tables, the aim of which will be to present the model of the service and collect suggestions from volunteers and organisers – institutions and associations that work in various segments. ‘Participative process is very important to us, participation of all stakeholders who work in volunteerism, because this approach gives elements of sustainability to the project’, said Mr Prkosovački and added that this is the chance for the expert public to participate in creating the model. Collected suggestions and final version of the Novi Sad Volunteer Service will be presented on a press-conference that will be held on 5 December – International Volunteer Day, which was declared by the United Nations in 1985.
The results of the Mosaic for Guinness were presented by Vanja Petković from the ‘Čepom do osmeha’ organisation. Here are the numbers: number of volunteers – 300, number of bottle caps – 900,000, mosaic surface – 621 m2. Ms Petković stated that all preconditions were met for the official verification of the record by the commission from the Guinness World Records Book. This should be confirmed officially in 6 months, which is the deadline for the commission to submit the results.