The European Solidarity Corps programme is relatively new to the European world of education and opportunities. So when I was asked to attend a Solidarity Projects Focus Group in Birmingham, I didn’t take too much time to think about it. I confirmed my attendance and then started preparing. The idea was straight forward: come in, give your input based on your experience and share your feedback. We were a group of three well-experienced EuroPeers. I wasn’t nervous about anything, the Solidarity team made it clear that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. What a quality, to show a person that even a complex situation can be treated as a simple task! And when you think of it, a project is all about complex situations. Organising a project requires personal sacrifices and time management, to begin with. And to remember that not everybody starts with a full team, most of the entrepreneurs out there will start their legacy having the generous support of their own self. Have you been on a project, whether Solidarity Corps or Erasmus+? It can seem smooth sometimes, but that’s only because someone spent their time thinking of how to make it work as well as possible.

Considering all of this in the context of the European Solidarity Corps projects, it doesn’t get any easier. You know you want to help and bring that positive change, you sort of know in what area to apply your idea, but do you have the resources and the organisational skills at hand? Not always and usually, not at the beginning. Well, in this regard, you can get help. And this is what the Focus Group was about in Birmingham. We tested the Solidarity Projects Planner which aims to help those groups of people who would like to organise a Solidarity project.

It always starts as a mess, brainstorming ideas, putting sticky notes on the fridge and on the bathroom mirror. The Planner helps you breakdown all those messy thoughts into structured and personalised sections. It is the perfect start for a more in-depth analysis of your work that will follow as you dive into the project’s details. I was pleased to see what it had to offer and how simple but structured it was. 

So you have your solidarity topic idea, whether it is social inclusion, mental health, or you want to help your local community in a different way. You need to get your group sorted (you need at least 5 people in the group), remember that the project can be between 2 and 12 months and give it a go! How do you start I hear you ask? The Solidarity Projects Planner is the answer. 

By clicking here you can find out more about the Focus Group and on how to get involved in European Solidarity Corps. 

By Mihai