Algarve councils set up volunteer banks

By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]

Despite the economic crisis and growing unemployment in the region, Algarve Câmaras have responded to increasing requests from members of the community who wish to volunteer their time, skills or services.

Whether you’re handy with DIY, nimble with a needle or are looking to help disadvantaged members of the community, five local Câmaras have now set up volunteer banks to place and support willing members of the community in the charities or establishments of their choice.

Vila Real de Santo António Câmara signed a protocol last month with the national council for the promotion of volunteer work (CNPV), for the implementation of a volunteer bank, which will raise awareness to residents about projects and volunteer opportunities. 

Silves and Loulé Câmaras also signed a protocol in February and have set up volunteer banks that will deal with placements as well as monitor and support volunteers.

Meanwhile, volunteer banks have also been established in Tavira and Lagos for several years.

foreign volunteers

In a statement sent to the Algarve Resident, Loulé Mayor Seruca Emídio said: “Loulé has always been a charitable council, being an example to follow both nationally and regionally.”

He added that the foreign community has a very important role in terms of volunteer work. “Many foreigners offer their knowledge and time to work for the community. This volunteer bank will have the dynamic role of coordinating all the resources we have in this great council.”

According to Loulé Câmara, the local volunteer bank, located along Rua Nossa Senhora de Fátima, near the bus station, “will be a place for people who want to express their availability to volunteer and promoters of volunteer work to meet.”

Anyone can offer to carry out volunteer work with a range of organisations and charities, with Silves Câmara having created simple forms to determine the type of skills, interests and availability of volunteers.

There are currently more than 80 volunteer banks across the country, with a further 28 being set up, while 2011 will be the European Year of Volunteering.

For more information about volunteering in any of the five councils, please contact the relevant Câmaras: Silves on 282 440 800/ 282 440 831 or email [email protected] Loulé on 289 400 600, Vila Real de Santo António on 281 510 000, Tavira on 281 320 500 and Lagos on 282 780 900/282 771 700. To learn more about Portugal’s national volunteer body, please visit the website, available in Portuguese only, at