Charities caught out by short lead time for Year of Volunteer

CSV launched plans for the Home Office-funded Year of the Volunteer last week, amid grumbles that there is insufficient time for the sector to prepare.

CSV and Volunteering England have each received £1m to co-ordinate the year-long campaign in 2005 with around 40 charities.

But the Government has been criticised for giving the sector only six months to plan. It announced the idea in the Budget last March and allocated the funds in August.

Jason Tanner, CSV's head of press, added: "It's been a very tight planning process and big campaigns are usually designed years ahead. It is not ideal, but it's not impossible."

Each month of the year will be themed. January has been dedicated to health volunteering. February's theme is youth and children and Barnardo's and the NSPCC will launch a joint recruitment video.

Volunteering England has established a media working group to publicise volunteering and link with CSV's themed months.

Separately, charities minister Fiona Mactaggart has announced the groups to benefit from the Government's £4m Volunteer Recruitment Fund.

Some 59 voluntary and community groups across England will receive grants to assist volunteering under two themes: "group dynamics", to encourage people to volunteer in groups; and "outreach work", targeting people who have not volunteered before.

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