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Local Solidarity Projects
For weeks, months, or even years you and your friends have been imagining a project for your city, to change something, spread an idea, or deal with an extremely important topic. You have tried to make it happen and might have also succeeded. However, too many times you had to give up that purchase that would make the leap in quality, or you had to drastically change the plans to make everything fit in a limited budget.
We know there is a lot of frustration. We also know that you didn’t let these small obstacles stop you, and you still went ahead without any setbacks. However, there is a solution to this problem: a monthly funding of 595€ is guaranteed by the European Union’s programme of the European Solidarity Corps through the Local Solidarity Projects.
What is the European Solidarity Corps?
The European Solidarity Corps programme is the European Commission’s initiative that replaced the European Voluntary Service, more commonly known as EVS. Since 1996, these programmes have allowed hundreds of thousands of young people to have an experience in another country, to be able to train through high-profile activities, to have an impact on the territory, and finally feel like EU citizens.
Within the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programme, there are four different activities:
- Volunteering projects;
- Volunteer team in high-priority areas;
- local solidarity projects;
- humanitarian volunteer projects.
Everything you need to know about solidarity projects is explained in this article.
Who can submit Local Solidarity Projects?
Groups of at least 5 young people aged between 18 and 30 legally residing in the country where the proposed project will be carried out can propose a solidarity project. There is no maximum number of people who can be part of the group officially presenting the project.
It will be essential that all project proposers are enrolled in the European Youth Portal. The step-by-step guide on how to apply for a local solidarity project can be found at the bottom of the article.
What is a Local Solidarity Projects?
A solidarity project is a non-profit activity or series of activities, designed, developed, proposed, and implemented by young people in order to generate a positive impact in their local community. The project must concern one or more specific themes which may aim at, for example, achieving the objectives set by the 11 European Youth Goals and address crucial issues such as environmental protection, active citizenship, social inclusion, the fight against discrimination, and more.
A solidarity project can last from a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 12 months. In order to be in line with what is required by the programme, the project must have these 3 fundamental characteristics:
- It must generate a strong, positive, and solidarity impact at the local level, in the territory where it is carried out. Therefore, it will be necessary to focus on the needs of the territory and the people who live there;
- It must reflect the European values and address the issues that are considered a priority by European society, such as climate change, democratic participation, and inclusion;
- It must include activities carried out through non-formal education methodologies.
How does the funding of Local Solidarity Projects work?
Once your project is approved, if you are the legal representative, the National Youth Agency will send you a grant agreement to sign. In this, you will find all the details about the general conditions, rules, budget, and payment method.
For your Solidarity Project, the grant will be awarded in two phases: the pre-financing and the final balance. The pre-financing will cover 80% of the total budget and will be paid 30 days after signing the agreement. The balance, on the other hand, will be paid after the end of the project. More precisely, it will be paid only after the delivery of the final report that you will be asked to complete within 60 days of the end of the project.
Which expenses can be financed?
When you have the budget available, before proceeding with purchases, it is good to consider which are the allowed expenses. As you will see, the list is not long and detailed, and the rules are not tight. However, it is essential to strictly follow these few guidelines.
Acceptable costs are:
- the actual expenses: it will be trivial to say, but only expenses that have actually been incurred and are then proven can be reimbursed;
- declared on the basis of unit costs: that is, justifiable costs for individual products and/or services purchased. To put it more simply, all costs must be proven by an invoice or receipt.
Who is the Coach of a Local Solidarity Projects?
During the design and development phases of your project, you and your team may need help from a person who has experience in managing European projects. The person you will identify to take on the role of coach in your Solidarity Project must be external to your group and be able to help you in different ways and at different rates. It may, in fact, be someone who is an expert on the topic that you will deal with during project implementation, ensuring specific training meetings. It may also be someone who is an expert in project management and development.
Two crucial things to keep in mind are:
- The coach is not able to implement the activities with the target group of the project, but he or she can directly support and/or train you to do so;
The costs to finance those who will take on the role of coach are not included in the 595€ per month that you will receive to implement your project but will be guaranteed separately.
What is the best way for you to apply to your Local Solidarity Projects?
To apply to your Local Solidarity Project, just follow the following instructions step by step. Before preparing for writing your project, check the calendar to verify the next deadline.
STEP 1: If you do not already have an account on the European Youth Portal, by clicking on this link, you can register and create one. Please ensure that your partners and fellow adventurers register as well.
STEP 2: Access the Erasmus+ and ESC portal with your credentials, using this link.
STEP 3: Create your informal group by clicking on ORGANIZATION>REGISTER MY ORGANIZATION.
STEP 4: Click on SEARCH>REGISTER A NEW ORGANIZATION
STEP 5: In the “Organization data” section you will have to enter these parameters (you can ignore those that are not mentioned): under “Legal Name” you will have to enter the name of your informal group.
STEP 6: Select “a natural person”
STEP 7: Select the language and country
STEP 8: Under “Legal form” select “UNKNOWN”
STEP 9: In the “Legal Address” section, you will have to enter the data for the legal address of your informal group. If you do not have a third-party location that you can designate as your official address, the person who will be responsible for acting as the contact person can enter the address of his or her residence or domicile.
STEP 10: Enter your data in the “Organization Contact Person” section.
STEP 11: In the ‘Users’ section click on “Copy contact person’s details”
STEP 12: Click on Submit.
STEP 12: Once you have created your informal group and have all the people who will help you to carry out the project registered, return to the portal and click on HOME.
STEP 13: Click on the Opportunities button in the European Solidarity Corps panel
STEP 14: Click on the “Apply” button in the Solidarity projects panel (ESC30-SOL) you will thus have access to the form that you will have to fill out before the deadline in order to officially apply for your project. To get an idea of the questions you will have to answer, you can view an example of the form at this link.
If you and your group need help structuring the project and filling out the form, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will give you the help and support you need!
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