15/07/2021 The Hague, The Netherlands

Johanniter Nederland started to recruit and maintain volunteers for Johanniter holidays.

Johanniter Nederland has received a substantial subsidy from the Dutch government to revive its volunteer work after COVID-19. The subsidy is used for a project that ensures that the organisation has enough ‘holiday volunteers’ to secure the holidays organised by Johanniter Nederland, and if possible, to expand future offers.

One of the main activities of Johanniter Nederland is organising for people who cannot spend their holidays without help or care, may it be due to age, illness, a certain disability or lack of financial resources. Johanniter Nederland has organised these holidays for almost seventy years within the country. It is expected that due to the ageing of the Dutch population, the demand for this type of holiday will only further increase in the (near) future.

In recent years, however, it is increasingly difficult to find enough volunteers to supervise these holidays. While there is hardly any influx of young volunteers, volunteers of older age leave their volunteering work. In 2020 and the first half of 2021, even more volunteers than usual have left due to the pandemic. Moreover, because all Johanniter holidays were cancelled during that period, there were no recruitment campaigns to attract new volunteers. At this moment, it is therefore necessary to replenish the database of volunteers for the Johanniter holidays. Johanniter Nederland is aiming to grow its database in the coming years from 150 to around 300 volunteers. The longer-term objective is to grow even to 500 volunteers (aim placed for 2025).

The Dutch government realises that the COVID-19 crisis has had significant consequences for volunteer organisations and has made financial resources available to tackle the problem. Johanniter Nederland uses this subsidy to recruit young volunteers through various channels such as social media, its network and contacts with higher education institutions. Our Dutch member intends to deploy interns during the Johanniter holidays as a complete novelty. Discussions with universities of applied sciences have started this month.

The provided subsidy will be additionally used to develop a mobile app for current and new holiday volunteers. Within the mobile app, social functions, support, administrative and educational functions will be integrated.