• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

As H&M expands into Ethiopia, Sweden's state venture capital unit Swedfund has announced that it will back the clothing giant, in a move hoped to create more jobs for local women. READ  

Elections 2014
Social Democrats reveal election manifesto
Photo: TT

Social Democrats reveal election manifesto

UPDATED: Sweden's main opposition party the Social Democrats has revealed its election manifesto at a press conference at a high school in Stockholm, with a key focus on education and welfare benefits. READ  

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

A teenage boy is in a critical condition after he was hit by a passing metro train in Stockholm. The accident ground rail traffic to a halt, and has police suspecting attempted murder. READ  

Swimrun
Record win at Sweden's tough island race
Photo: Jakob Edholm/ÖTILLÖ14

Record win at Sweden's tough island race

Two Swedes crushed last year's course record at the Swimrun world championship in Stockholm's archipelago on Monday. READ  

Sweden reveals Academy Award submission
Swedish director Ruben Östlund on set. Photo. TT

Sweden reveals Academy Award submission

The movie set to represent Sweden at the 2015 Academy Awards was revealed on Monday, a film that has already won awards abroad. READ  

Amphetamines
Hidden forest drug stash leads to prosecution

Hidden forest drug stash leads to prosecution

A 53-year-old man has been prosecuted after police in western Sweden made one of their largest drug seizures in the area. READ  

Man shot dead in hunting accident
Photo: Hunter Desportes/Flickr

Man shot dead in hunting accident

UPDATED: Police in northern Sweden say a man was killed on Monday morning after what they described as a "hunting accident". READ  

Pirate Bay Swede's trial set for final stage

Pirate Bay Swede's trial set for final stage

The mother of Swedish Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has told The Local about her son's "suffering" in jail ahead of the final stages of his trial. READ  

Suspected Ebola case ruled out in Sweden
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Suspected Ebola case ruled out in Sweden

UPDATED: Officials at a Stockholm hospital reported that they had found a suspected case of the Ebola virus on Sunday night. But the case was dismissed on Monday. READ  

Murderer on the loose after breakout

Murderer on the loose after breakout

A 34-year-old man who killed a child is on the run after he broke out of a psychiatric ward in central Sweden. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Blog updates

02 September

America night (Blogweiser) »

" There was an event this weekend for the ‘Americans in Sweden’ Facebook group. I’m a member, and I brought my girls to the evening. The gathering was at a Boston-themed sportsbar in a mall. There were loads of screens, a bowling alley, a game room and a jumbotron. It was as good a place as any to..." READ »

 

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
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

746
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