Thanks to a two year adult education project funded by the European Union, UK senior volunteers spent three weeks taking part in ‘green gym’ voluntary work in the beautiful surroundings of Nowy Sacz city in southern Poland. Likewise, Polish senior volunteers spent their three weeks in Malvern, Worcestershire.
In keeping with the European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity, ‘Green Gym: keeping fit through active volunteering in nature’ promoted volunteering among seniors (aged 50+) by engaging them in outdoor tasks. Here, they joined local volunteers of all ages working on outdoor activities which benefited the whole community such as community gardening, conservation projects, bushcraft and traditional rural crafts. Here is a photo collage of their activities but, to see more, take a look at our Facebook page or download a leaflet about this project.
The project provided a rich and multi-faceted learning experience. Volunteers learnt about a new culture and verbal/non-verbal communication skills in a foriegn country and they shared thier own culture, too. They learned new skills and discovered many old and traditional ways of working in conservation and rural crafts. They also said that they were challenged and stretched, on a personal level, which gave them the chance for personal growth and appreciation for the concept of lifelong learning.
It was not just a great learning opportunity for the volunteers, though. Consilium and MMS staff and the projects we work with also benefitted from participating in the project. It brought a new, European dimension to our work and our lives. It has sparked a great deal of interest in becoming involved in other European projects and has been a great ambassador for shared European values of citizenship, volunteering and intercultural learning. Many thanks go to the EU’s Grundtvig Programme for funding this project.