Volunteering 'is not a panacea'

One of the founders of a new support group for volunteer managers has warned against volunteering being "offered as a panacea for society's ills".

Volunteers: high support needs
Volunteers: high support needs

Debbie Usiskin, who has 10 years' experience of managing volunteers at charities such as Victim Support, helped launch the Association of Volunteer Managers this week. The association is open to anyone who works with volunteers, including those in private companies.

Usiskin's warning comes as Volunteering Week ends tomorrow. She said: "Managing volunteers is becoming like juggling, but harder. It is being offered as a panacea for society's ills. Many doctors, for example, recommend volunteering instead of antidepressants. Managers can often end up with volunteers with high support needs, such as refugees or the long-term unemployed."

She said the association would offer a one-stop shop for information and would help negotiate a way through the growing volume of conflicting regulations.

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