People from around Europe will speak about how volunteering has transformed their lives - and even helped them find work - as part of a major international conference in Wolverhampton next week.

The conference is part of a series of events and activities which have taken place across the continent over the last few years, raising debates on questions of active citizenship and participation and encouraging people including foreign students and immigrants to play an active role in life in their new country.

The project is coordinated by Europe's Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA), which seeks to promote volunteering in various European cities, including Wolverhampton.

Councillor Roger Lawrence, the leader of Wolverhampton City Council and also Honorary Treasurer of ALDA, said "This is the latest in a series of conferences and workshops that have taken place across Europe over the last three years which have given local and international delegates the chance to see how active citizenship can improve local communities and ultimately governance.

"Through events such as this one in Wolverhampton, we'll be able to identify and share good practice among local, regional and international participants.

"We're particularly looking forward to hearing first-hand the experiences of people who have come to Wolverhampton and taken up voluntary roles in the city.

"There are 550 voluntary and community organisations in Wolverhampton, all of which rely on volunteers to deliver their services. But volunteering is also an important part in the pathway to training and employment, and it is heartening to hear that many individuals are securing employment with local organisations in this way."

As well as international volunteers' stories, there will also be a series of workshops and presentations on subjects including the Volunteering Code of Practice and funding opportunities.

The conference, entitled Volunteers, Voluntary Organisations and Localism, takes place at the University of Wolverhampton on Wednesday 8 May, 2013, and Wolverhampton City Council on Thursday 9 May, 2013. Places are free but should be reserved in advance by calling Kuldip Khela on 01902 550115 or emailing

Councillor Lawrence added: "I'd like to encourage Europeans living in Wolverhampton who are playing an important role in the diversity of our city, and across the West Midlands, to book a place at this free conference."

  • released: Wednesday 1 May, 2013