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Ecoc, volunteers are protagonists

Volunteers Volunteers photo by Matera2019

Becoming a European Capital of Culture does not only mean organizing cultural events throughout the year, highlighting the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, but above all it means raising the sense of belonging of European citizens to a cultural common space.

This sense of belonging can be raised in several forms: becoming a volunteer is one of the greatest example. The contribution of volunteers is fundamental to many aspects of the success of a European Capital of Culture.

The city of Matera, for example, has been able to count on the precious support and the great participation of volunteers since the candidacy phase.

The volunteers team represented the "engine" able to making the vast and complex cultural program of Matera 2019 work. Hundreds of volunteer citizens have started a path of growth not only from a professional point of view, through training and various tasks in hospitality and information, but also from the human point of view, enriching themselves not only as individuals but also as a group.

When a city receives such a prestigious title, volunteers have the ability to create a community made up of very different people, by age, by origin, by background, but united by the willingness of to make themselves useful to the community, to dedicate part of their time for a purpose they believe in and for a territory they are proud of.

Volunteers represent the beating heart for a European Capital of Culture, they are able to bring people together through the Culture by breaking down many social and cultural barriers.

The human capital that ECoC is able to generate through volunteering, is perhaps the most important result that can be achieved.

Several researches show that volunteering can be beneficial not just to the health and wellbeing of volunteers, but also to the fostering of healthy and resilient communities. This is why it is important not to waste these human resources and to work so that the volunteers continue their journey in taking care of their territory even at the end of the ECoC year.

In this regard, an important signal comes from Matera where volunteers, a few days ago, formed the “Open Culture 2019 Volunteers” Association with the aim of consolidating the “Matera 2019 Volunteers” project, as a legacy of Matera European Capital of Culture.

In such a difficult time, in which the Culture sector is among those most affected by the pandemic, the " Open Culture 2019 Volunteers" Association has decided to make Culture an essential part of daily life.

This news give us hope for a better future.

Carla Di Grazia

Former Volunteer Project Manager