Nearly 2,400 unemployed people have completed volunteering placements in the first five months of the £8m volunteer brokerage scheme being run by environmental charity BTCV for the Department for Work and Pensions.
The scheme, which began in April this year, has a target of matching 34,000 jobseekers with volunteering placements within two years.
A DWP spokeswoman said the department had no monthly targets, but expected the numbers to rise significantly in future months and did not intend to alter the overall target.
The scheme is being run by BTCV in partnership with volunteering charities Volunteering England, CSV and v. BTCV said 1,128 of the 2,365 placements were arranged by BTCV itself and the rest by its partner charities.
Tom Flood, chief executive of BTCV, said: "For people who have been out of work for a long time, or who have never had a job, newly acquired skills learned by volunteering can make all the difference."