At midday I sat in on a lunch organised by a number of British members to welcome four representatives of the UK voluntary sector, drawn from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and ranging from a young volunteer to an older one (77 years old!). This is the year of volunteering, an initiative that the Committee has strongly supported, and the civil servant who has been heading up the Commission’s activities, John Macdonald, was also a guest at the table. Each of the four recounted their experiences and the way they had come to be volunteers. Before dashing away to my next meeting I told them that it was no coincidence that the EESC was so supportive. From my perspective the Committee’s members are also volunteers. They don’t get EU salaries and spend most of their time with their organisations back in the member states.