Talking points: Dormant insurance funds cash 'should go to charities'; charity income up; young volunteering

Comments from readers on the Third Sector website

Food bank: down to IDS?
Food bank: down to IDS?

'Give dormant insurance funds cash to charities'

Dormant insurance policies and pension funds worth £400m should be given to third sector organisations to help them fight poverty and social breakdown, according to the think tank the Centre for Social Justice.

The CSJ report, Enabling Grass-roots Charities to Tackle Poverty, recommends using the dormant funds to establish a new fund to develop new third sector ideas, support charities and fight poverty.

The report says that existing support tends to be limited to the delivery of services, rather than helping organisations to develop and refine their practices. It says that the fund, which would be called the UK Social Innovation Fund, would be focused on taking the most innovative ideas and developing them into commissionable public services.

On ThirdSector.co.uk, disgruntled commented: "This would be hilarious, if it weren't so serious. The Centre for Social Justice was founded by Iain Duncan Smith, now the work and pensions secretary, and his policies have created the poverty and increased demand for food banks."

Mjhmjh: "These problems were created long before Iain Duncan Smith took office. They are long-standing social problems in the United Kingdom and have been increasing for decades, along with the population."

Average charity income up 4 per cent last year

The average annual income of registered charities in England and Wales rose by 4 per cent over the past year to £391,000, Charity Commission data shows.

Figures on the Charity Commission's website also show that over the past year the sector's total income grew by £3.1bn – or 5.1 per cent – to £64.2bn. The figures are based on annual returns provided by charities to the regulator during the year to the end of June 2014.

Stephen Moreton commented: "It's fascinating to see the contrasting stories produced by the analysis of charitable income from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Charity Commission. The commission analysis shows that the sector has been in good health. But in April the NCVO said the sector was shrinking for the first time since 2000/01. So who is right?

David Kane: "There's no need for any fisticuffs just yet – there's a few explanations for the differences between the NCVO Almanac and the Charity Commission.

In short, there are four key reasons for differences between the two data sets: timing, different definitions, newly registered charities and the impact of inflation."

Big rise over decade in young volunteering

The proportion of young people who volunteer has more than doubled in the past decade, according to a new report from the voluntary sector consultancy nfpSynergy.

The New Alchemy: How Volunteering Turns Donations of Time and Talent into Human Gold says the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who have volunteered in the previous three months has increased from 15 per cent in October 2004 to 33 per cent in July this year.

Eowyn Rohan commented: "Perhaps we should triple-check the facts. Did the individuals agree to volunteer or were they subject to direction – for example, were they told by another party (such as a job centre) to work for another organisation for zero salary under threat of being disallowed from any entitlement to receive state benefits?"

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