Volunteer engagement and social isolation

14 October 2020 - Published by Walter Wehus
Many organizations that deal with social isolation are depending on volunteer workers. At the same time, volunteering can be a way out of isolation. I2I recently organized an online seminar about the two sides of volunteer engagement.

In October, I2I partner Diakonisches Werk Bremen organized an online seminar about volunteer engagement and the issues of loneliness and social isolation.

"Many initiatives against loneliness and exclusion rely on volunteers. On the other hand, people are often encouraged to volunteer for something to avoid loneliness", says Jürgen Stein in Diakonisches Werk Bremen, who moderated the seminar.

He adds that many of the latter volunteers stand the risk of dependency or loss of contact if the organizers are not wary about these effects.


Presenting best practices

The online seminar brought together organizations like the Bremen Freiwilligenagentur, an institution which connects volunteers with places that need them while providing counselling to both parties.

An interview with Heidi Remmers from the crisis phone line "Telefonseelsorge Bremen" provided insight into a workplace staffed with volunteers that needed to be well prepared and encouraged to be able to deal with people experiencing loneliness even to the point of feeling suicidal.

Mrs Antje Büsing from St. Magnus Meeting Centre presented another excellent example in how volunteers at the senior's meeting place got involved as co-council members, among other vital responsibilities.


More interest about I2I

Jürgen Stein also presented the I2I project and the ideas developed so far.

"Many participants asked for more information about our progress and showed eager interest for the upcoming co-creation workshop sessions which we are planning to develop innovative ideas", says Stein.

If you would like the presentations and seminar materials (in German), please contact stein@diakonie-bremen.de.