The citizens of Aarhus met on January 21st in Ridehuset for the opening event of Aarhus European Volunteering Capital city in 2018. Voluntary associations and organizations met the citizens and invited them to join their activities. Red Barnet Aarhus was one of the 94 associations that participated during the three-hours opening in Ridehuset: "We talked to a lot of people who were curious about how we do social activities for children in Aarhus, so it was a nice boost compared to our normal recruitment meetings, which we have once a month at the local Volunteer Center. At the same time, we talked about fundraising, about our recycling shop and networking with other associations. We will definitely use the year to make us even more visible" says Lasse Holm from Red Barnet Aarhus.

In the middle of the nice crowd, was the NGO and center Muhabet Aarhus, an association giving social assistance to vulnerable citizens, and they're currently looking for volunteers. "It was a perfect time for us to come out and tell about our work for mentally ill and vulnerable refugees and how we work with inclusion. We usually have 20 volunteers in the center, and they create a safe space. People were very interested and despite the fact that there were so many associations and people, it worked well and in a good spirit for us" says Mette Jensby Mortensen from Muhabet Aarhus.

An enthusiastic and happy mayor
Mayor in Aarhus, Jacob Bundsgaard, held a speech at the opening in Ridehuset. "I was excited about the great participation and the amazing atmosphere that the many attendees created. What an energy the voluntary associations and organizations in Aarhus can create! There are people with good hearts, enthusiasts who make other people curious about gaining knowledge. It was clear that many became interested in learning more and maybe even try to participate in voluntary work themselves", says Jacob Bundsgaard.

Chairman of the Voluntary and Co-operation Committee in Aarhus municipality, Camilla Fabricius, outlines a vision for the rest of the year: "During the year we will celebrate the volunteer initiatives and together we will maintain the commitment and create lasting changes. Therefore, we must dare to make new demands – both to ourselves and to our cooperation – in order to set the right framework for volunteering and citizenship to grow. The goal of the year is to make it easy, fun and accessible to be a volunteer" says Camilla Fabricius.