Volunteer Initiative 2017 Ceremony
The Volunteer Initiative 2017 annual awards were announced at the public ceremony in the presence of volunteers, colleagues form civil and business organisations, libraries, community clubs, schools and guests.

The ceremony took place on 7 December. It was opened by Maria Petkova from Tulip Foundation and Reneta Veneva from the National Alliance for Voluntary Action. On the occasion of the award ceremony the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev addressed the participants at the competition. The address was presented by Dimitar Minev, director of the Public Library Ivan Vazov in Plovdiv.

Ioan Dimchovski from the National Musical School L. Pipkov performed two romances by Johan Caspar Mertz and Nicolo Paganini on guitar.

Oonagh Aitken, President of Volonteurope – the European network of voluntary organisations and Executive of Volunteering Matters UK sent a special video message for the volunteers in Bulgaria.

By tradition the members of the Jury announced the awards. Ognian Zlatev, Head of Representative Office of European Commission in Bulgaria, presented the initiative Donate an Hour of Association Knowledge. The idea is that volunteers help older people to work with the new technologies. This way they can connect with their relatives, use social networks, keep contacts with friends, children and grandchildren. This is important so that they feel engaged and independent. The volunteers delivered trainings in small groups for 4-5 people from November 2014 to October 2017. In total 11 trainings include some 500 older people at an average age of 70 years. The activities continue in 2018. The best motivation for the team is the change, the self-confidence and the willingness of older people to use technologies.

Stefan Kitanov, Director of International Film Festival Sofia Film Fest and a member of the European Film Academy announces the next award. He told about his first impression and later experience in working with volunteers. He presented the CHANGE – the biggest socially responsible initiative of Nova Broadcasting Group in partnership with Foundation Reach for Change Bulgaria.  The initiative supports children in Bulgaria through systematic support for social projects by providing business knowledge and skills in a mentor programme, media and public support, funding. The initiative is aimed at development of the connection between business and civil sector and promotion of corporate volunteering and utilization of business expertise for solving social problems.

Alexey Lazarov, Chief Editor of Capital newspaper gave the award to the young volunteers from Youth and Civil Initiatives in the Rose Valley Association in Karlovo who have changed a neglected park into an attracting place for the citizens of the town. In just a week the volunteers have cleaned up the alleys, painted the sidewalks, installеа a new water fountain, painted graffiti with motives form the region, placed a fence around the playground etc. The young people have also made a commitment to maintain the Cool Place and to organise various events there for the local commentary.

At the end of the ceremony the representatives of the awarded organisations had a group picture with the members of the Jury and the organisers. All participants and guests applauded energetically all volunteers in Bulgaria who day by day change themselves and the world around them.

This year 45 initiatives of local volunteers realised in different towns and villages were competing for the Volunteer Initiative 2017 awards. The competition is organised by Tulip Foundation and the National Alliance for Voluntary Action for a seventh successive year and was open for all organisations and groups that have organised voluntary initiatives during the year regardless the place and the period of the realisation, the aim and organisation of the actions, the sources of funding, number and age of the volunteers.

Stefan Kitanov, Director of Sofia International Film Festival and a member of the European Film Academy, Alexey Lazarov, Chief Editor of Capital newspaper and Ognian Zlatev, Head of Representative Office of European Commission in Bulgaria selected the best and most effective initiatives on the basis of their results, the importance for the local community, the number and the involvement of the participants, the impact of the initiative for the development of the capacity of the volunteers and the team of the organisation, the financial effectiveness.

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