Action for Children volunteers 'worth more than £1m a year'

The charity's Maureen Nuttall says the figures show why it's necessary for the sector to invest in volunteers

Young people enjoying an Action for Children children’s centre [credit: Action for Children]
Young people enjoying an Action for Children children’s centre [credit: Action for Children]

Action for Children has called on charities to invest in their volunteers after publishing research that says the value of its own volunteers is more than £1m a year.

The charity commissioned the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the company the Office for Public Management to conduct research among volunteers in its children’s centres.

A report into the research, published today, shows that the value of volunteers’ time far outweighs the costs in terms of management time and resources.

Researchers estimate that the total value of volunteers to the charity is almost £1.2m a year, based on a salary of £7 an hour, the rate paid by Action for Children to staff in its lowest salary bracket.

Management time spent supporting the volunteers is estimated at £565,000 a year and other costs such as expenses and recruitment come out at about £200,000 across the charity’s 160 children’s centres, giving an annual benefit to the charity of about £400,000.

The report says that charities should be clear about who is responsible for supporting and managing volunteers and should include the role in relevant job descriptions.

Maureen Nuttall, strategy development manager at Action for Children, said the charity’s volunteers were invaluable. "Seeing the facts summed up like this reiterates why we should invest in our volunteers to ensure they get just as much out of their experience as they put in," she said.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said: "Charities, including Action for Children, offer myriad opportunities for people to gain skills and make a difference. However, as this report shows, volunteering is not a free resource; it requires investment and structure to ensure that everyone has access to worthwhile and enjoyable experiences and is properly supported."

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