Reading Agency given £127,000 to boost volunteering in libraries

By Tim Tonkin, Third Sector Online, 11 September 2012

Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd

Civil society minister Nick Hurd, who visited Canada Water Library in south-east London, wants youngsters to get volunteering opportunities

The reading charity The Reading Agency has been given £127,000 from the Cabinet Office’s £20m Social Action Fund to create volunteering opportunities in libraries for young people.

The funding will go towards creating a new Youth Innovation Network, which will offer volunteering opportunities for people aged 11 to 25 in libraries in England.

The Reading Agency will run the scheme in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians.

Librarians will run the network at local level and will receive training and resources from The Reading Agency on how to engage young people and set up volunteering programmes such as reading with children or organising author events. Seventy-four local authorities have said they will join the network.

Miranda McKearney, director of The Reading Agency, said: "Young people are having a really tough time, so we’re delighted to be able to give libraries extra support to create important new volunteering opportunities to support reading in the community.

"The network builds on libraries’ long-standing experience of involving volunteers, extending this to build year-round volunteering opportunities. These opportunities will help young people develop their communication, literacy and civic participation skills, and unleash their passion for helping to create a better society."

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, yesterday met young volunteers at Canada Water Library in south-east London, which has been running a summer volunteers programme.

"Through the Social Action Fund, we are supporting organisations that are creating new opportunities for people to get involved and help others," said Hurd. "I am particularly keen for more young people to get the opportunity to contribute to their communities and develop their skills and confidence."

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