Tuesday, 1 December 2015
How was the idea of EuroPeers UK created?
As it always happens it was due to a mixture of chance, human will and fruitful encounters.
Andrew Hadley has been CEO of Momentum World www.momentumworld.org for the last 6 years. Before that, he spent 20 years working for the British Council in different parts of the world including Ethiopia, China, Greece and Macedonia as well as some policy jobs in London. His interest in working with young people started in 2001 in Macedonia, where he set up several national and international youth projects and networks. It was the success of those projects and the impact on so many young people that made him decide to specialise in this field for the next part of his career.
Working in the UK with European programmes, Andrew noticed how young people are not getting enough opportunities to participate in international projects, courses or exchanges. He heard so many people around Europe ask “Why do we never meet any UK participants? Why don’t we see EVS volunteers from the UK? How can we find more opportunities to do EVS in the UK?”. Of course there are all kinds of reasons why British organisations don’t do more international work, such as policy priorities, financial capacity and staff expertise; but the hardest difficulty is simply getting the information out to young people, schools, and youth groups. Also his observation was that, just as in other countries, when young people come back from EVS or other projects, they feel greatly motivated and excited but there are very few opportunities for follow-up activities or networking.
For all these reasons, when he got to know the EuroPeers network and their activities he became immediately very interested.
The first encounter took place when he attended the conference “Building Tomorrow’s Europe” in Bonn in May 2013. The event was organised by Jugend für Europa, and it included some workshops led by young people from the EuroPeers network. Andrew was truly impressed by the high motivation of the young people there, and the way the National Agency supported them to organise their activities.