Ethnic minorities are half of young Citizens Advice volunteers

Indira Das-Gupta

Almost half of all young Citizens Advice volunteers are from ethnic minority communities, a new HR analysis shows.

The staff analysis by Citizens Advice reveals that just under 50 per cent of volunteers aged between 16 and 24 are not white.

The information was included in a bid for funding from the new Russell Commission implementation body, set up to encourage young volunteers.

The bid was turned down earlier this year. Citizens Advice decided to invest in recruitment and retention of volunteers from non-white backgrounds in order to make its services more accessible.

John Ramsey, head of volunteer development at Citizens Advice, said: "We had realised over the past few years that, although our services are meant to be available to everyone, people from BME backgrounds were not taking them up. They couldn't relate to us because none of our advisers came from their communities.

"It's about understanding people and what they need to feel fulfilled as volunteers," he added. "It sounds simple, but it isn't - it takes time and resources to train volunteers. Organisations that aren't prepared to make the investment are short-sighted."

This month the Home Office pledged £3m to help overcome obstacles to volunteering experienced by hard-to-reach groups such as ethnic minorities.

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