• Sweden edition
 
Volunteering in English launched in Sweden

Volunteering in English launched in Sweden

Published: 16 Nov 2012 13:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Nov 2012 13:42 GMT+01:00

“It feels fantastic! It’s unreal to have an idea and then finally see it happening,” programme founder and UK-native Claire Thomas told The Local at the launch.

Back in April, Thomas hatched the idea of an all-English volunteering website after realizing that without knowing Swedish, it can be almost impossible to find opportunities to help out in Sweden.

“We had quite a few people coming through who said ‘I want to volunteer’ after seeing it on The Local,” Thomas explained.

Following a public call for donations, the team attracted the attention of the Swedish Postcode Lottery (Postkodlotteriet) which injected the final sum to make the idea a reality.

The project was officially launched at the residence of the US ambassador in Stockholm on Thursday with deputy ambassador Bill Stewart giving his seal of approval.

“If you don’t have Swedish language skills it doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer anymore. That’s what this is about. It’s now open to visitors and immigrants who want to be helpful but have felt held back due to language,” he told The Local.

“There’s an urban myth that Swede’s don’t volunteer but it’s totally wrong. 48 percent of adult Swedes volunteer at least 16 hours a month – its huge. Now the organizers here have tapped into the resource of people living in Sweden who can’t speak Swedish but want to help.”

The project went live online two weeks ago as a subset of the well-established Voluntär Byrån, a Swedish agency launched 10 years ago and founded by Amelie Silfverstolpe.

“We’ve been longing an English section for a long time, but haven’t had the resources. When Claire came with all her energy and knowledge, I said, 'go ahead, I totally support you',” she told The Local.

“The English part of things is really important. Great people are coming here from other countries and in Sweden we’re really bad at taking care of the knowledge and the passions they bring. I think we could do better with the immigrants in this sense.”

Now, as the project slowly gains momentum, Thomas is excited about the future.

“There are eight volunteer opportunities on the site right now, and that’s eight more than were available for English speakers before,” she said.

“We’ll see where we take it from here, there’s a lot of scope to push it into specific areas where volunteering can help. There’s a lot of opportunity and it’s quite exciting.”

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

14:40 November 16, 2012 by Rogerenden
""If you don't have Swedish language skills it doesn't mean you can't volunteer anymore. That's what this is about. It's now open to visitors and immigrants who want to be helpful but have felt held back due to language," he told The Local. "

Other idea: You learn some basics of the damn language (which can be expected!) and then start volunteering. Positiv effect: You do something useful and improve your language skills.
17:46 November 16, 2012 by rebelart.se
@ Rogerenden i am so tired of u pale pagan lizards defending the indefensible...sweden has nothing to give people who are not swedish.......learning the language is a waste of time....for those who want to volunteer good luck......

you Rogerenden are probably a white european who has benefited from the swedish apartheid racial set up that places peoples of scandinavian white descent on the top of the pile......oh i said scandinavian whites not europeans generally....as being white in sweden is not enough ....so imagine what its like for blacks or non-whites.......

as i imagine you can't imagine...its impossible....
21:22 November 16, 2012 by Fernandis
this is just non-sense to be volunteer without native language skills. If you don't want to learn Swedish but just keep English, then ideal is to go back where you come from and utilize your volunteer work there which can benefit many more people.
21:42 November 16, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
I agree with @rebelart. I am a white male American yet have never felt welcomed here (except by my Swedish wife and her family). I have friends from my SFI class who are white and from other northen European contries and they have told me many times that they feel the same way.

Swedes are not very welcoming to anyone except oher Swedes.

I would never waste my time volunteering in this place.
21:46 November 16, 2012 by skogsbo
This little project has all the hallmarks of a bored US/UK diplomat's wife, who didn't want to learn Swedish looking for a little hobby to pass a few years. What she has started is an anti-integration programme, when a perfectly good and functioning Swedish volunteering society already exist. What a waste of peoples time.
12:42 November 17, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
Volunteering is wonderful. We should all celebrate these people's energies and put aside any disparaging feelings of shunning.
10:31 November 20, 2012 by Bolinb
I am an Australian living in Sweden and I have to say this idea has potential. I can not find work and so can not improve my Swedish skills. My Swedish partner is not interested or not able to help me learn Swedish and we live to far away from a city centre (60 Km) where I can learn more than basic SFI.... Hmm Can't work, Cant study. Cant meet people to learn more Swedish. Maybe volunteering with people that speak both English and SWEDISH will be helpfull.. But being unable to read more than basic Swedish means I cant find things to do...... Sounds like a bit of a life-line for those of us that are neglected by Swedish society......
Today's headlines
Swedish rockers dice with death in coach fire
Photo: Deathstars

Swedish rockers dice with death in coach fire

Swedish industrial rock band Deathstars narrowly avoided a serious tragedy in the early hours of Saturday morning when the tour bus in which they were travelling caught fire in the Austrian alps. READ  

Winter
Clocks go back for Swedish winter time
Photo: Charlie Rydell/AP

Clocks go back for Swedish winter time

Sweden switched over to winter time in the early hours of Sunday morning meaning that you just enjoyed an extra hour of sleep. READ  

National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Photo: TT

Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains

Torrential rains in western Sweden have left some towns submersed as water levels have risen to 1.5 metres above normal for the season with forecasts indicating that is worse to come. READ  

Ebola crisis
Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund
Photo: TT

Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund

Sweden has offered a new sizeable contribution to the fund set up by UN chief Ban K-moon to fight the Ebola outbreak. READ  

Society
'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme
Photo: Lars-Göran Thuresson/Älgriket

'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme

The Swedish hunting association runs a project to encourage young asylum-seekers to learn about hunting, a move which has proved controversial among some far right groups. READ  

Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

976
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN