The European Employee Volunteering Awards recognise and celebrate those companies and organisations that have shown innovation, creativity and a long-term commitment to corporate social responsibility in their countries and communities. The winners of the Awards were announced at the Responsible Business Convention on 17-18 March 2011 in London.

The Awards, co-funded by the European Commission, are part of the programme and activities for the European Year of Volunteering 2011. They were run in 22 European countries, and 250 entries were received from across Europe in the following categories: Large Companies, Small Companies, Innovation, Newcomers and Public Authorities.

John Halloran, ESN’s Chief Executive participating at the Convention welcomed the Public Authority category entry that focused on local authorities building a supportive environment for volunteering: “Local public authorities can play an important role in building partnerships with the private sector to help people realise their potential whether in employment for those some distance from the labour market as well as in other areas of community activity.’

The winner of this category was the City of Wiesbaden in Germany. Its Office for Social Corporate Citizenship Strategy established the programme "Corporate Citizenship Strategy for Wiesbaden” aimed at accessing local businesses and persuading them to make a contribution towards enhanced social cohesion. Over the last few years the City of Wiesbaden has successfully implemented the strategy with the full support senior managers and local politicians. Three successful schemes have emerged:

  1. Wiesbaden Engagiert (Wiesbaden Engaged) - a low threshold introduction to the concept of employee volunteering in the framework of an annual local action day
  2. WiesPaten (Wies- Buddies) - a mentoring scheme to promote a long-term commitment to addressing social issues, such as integration and employability
  3. Golden Lily - an award for engaged companies designed to establish a local culture of recognition.

The City of Wiesbaden offers a range of services for companies, such as an annual day of action and a mentoring program for long-term education and integration. Today, about 290 companies and 3,500 employees are committed civically through this service and 50,000 people have benefited from one of the various Wiesbaden civic projects.

“Employment continues to be a central concern for the European Union, in particular the importance of addressing barriers to employment, experienced in more disadvantaged communities. Around 100 million Europeans engage in some form of voluntary activity – if they were a country they would be the biggest member state of the EU,” said Sue Adkins, the International Director of Business in the Community hosting the awards.