Rethink volunteer centre funding, Volunteering England urges charities minister

Chief executive 'baffled' by comments made by Angela Smith

Justin Davis Smith, the chief executive of volunteering development agency Volunteering England, has criticised the Government for not providing new funding for volunteer centres.

Davis Smith has written to Angela Smith, minister for the third sector, to express his "continued disappointment" over what he said was the Government's failure to recognise the vital importance of the Commission on the Future of Volunteering's recommendation for local volunteer centre funding.

Smith told a fringe event at the recent Labour Party conference, organised by Volunteering England and the British Red Cross, that volunteer centres would not receive any new government funding in the short term and should look for ways to become less reliant on government grants.

Davis Smith, who has requested a meeting with the minister, wrote in response: "You know how significant volunteer centres are in promoting and underpinning voluntary action in their local communities, a significance which has been highlighted during the recession, and we are baffled that, given the Government's commitment to and reliance on volunteering as a major factor in its spectrum of social policies, you are not able to back the volunteer centres in practical terms so that they can undertake the vastly important role society asks of them."

A spokesman for the Office for the Third Sector said: "We have received a letter and will respond in due course."

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