Brown calls on business to embrace volunteering

Tania Mason

Businesses will be challenged to play a much greater role in facilitating youth volunteering, Chancellor Gordon Brown told a volunteering conference at the Treasury this week.

At the seminar, attended by more than 100 voluntary sector luminaries, ministers and business leaders, the Chancellor set a target of 1 million new young volunteers over the next five years. His speech looked to US strategies where firms give staff a week off for voluntary work or pay volunteers' expenses. Brown said that access to volunteering needed to be made easier, and singled out mentoring as a volunteering form the Government would encourage.

Ian Russell, head of the Russell Commission, charged with making recommendations to the Government on a national youth volunteering strategy, said there was support for an expansion of volunteering in the public sector, particularly health, education and the environment.

He said that with 3 million young people already formally volunteering, "this is not the apathy of Generation X, it is Generation V".

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