Importance of collaboration, research and practice to develop a European approach to Volunteering
International cooperation and collaboration between researchers, Probation Services and community based organisations is vital for advancing knowledge and addressing complex global challenges. By collaborating across borders and across sectors, researchers can pool resources, share expertise, and access a wide diversity of perspectives. Such cooperation accelerates breakthroughs, promotes innovation, and fosters solutions to pressing issues – one of them being how we deliver criminal justice that can promote social cohesion and improve outcomes for people on probation. Research can unlock new frontiers of knowledge for the benefit of civic engagement and volunteer involvement in Probation, with the ultimate aim to benefit persons under probation supervision.
As a first step of the CoPPeR project, a best practice an international research evidence review has been conducted to provide the foundation of the project. Currently, a thorough peer review process is ongoing with the view to set a solid foundation for the CoPPeR project. The peer review process does not only take place across all partner countries- Portugal, Serbia, The Netherlands, Romania and Ireland, but also across fields of expertise.
Not only is the research perspective taken into account, but equally the expertise of Probation Services from different jurisdictions, the Confederation of European Probation and community based organisations, practitioners and experts.
UCC is currently incorporating feedback from partner countries and beyond as well as these different areas of expertise, ensuring the completion of a thorough evidence review which will then be used by CoPPER partners in their development of the European volunteering in Probation programme.
The main goal of the international best practice and evidence reviewon volunteering in probation, is to consider what we can learn from different contexts on the benefits, training, recruitment, and monitoring as well as rewarding of volunteers in probation. This will allow the COPPER team to collaboratively agree on key-features of a European training and capacity building approach to volunteering in probation. This is only possible through the international teamwork CoPPer is practising with all partners – not only will the outcome of the project benefit volunteering in probation across borders but it will hopefully also illustrate the benefits of international research collaboration. Our in-person team meeting at University College Cork in September 2023 will solidify the findings of the evidence and best practice review and set a new benchmark for European cooperation in volunteering in probation.