CSV: Public services should share weight of volunteer placements

Increasing demand could lead to shortage of opportunities in the voluntary sector, charity warns

The Government should encourage public services to offer more volunteer placements to reduce the pressure on the voluntary sector, according to CSV.

Is Szoneberg, director of full-time volunteering at the charity, told Third Sector that government initiatives were "saturating the market with volunteering". The Government should create more opportunities in order to avoid disappointing potential volunteers, she said.

"Volunteering has a high profile at the moment," she said. "The number of people wanting to volunteer is increasing, as a result of the recession and of government initiatives, but we risk reaching the point where there is a shortage of placements for them."

Szoneberg said some professionals in the public sector saw volunteers as a threat to their jobs and did not understand the help they could provide.

"Volunteering is not a panacea, and it's not appropriate for everyone," she said. "But the public sector needs to realise the benefits it can bring and invest more time and money in volunteers."

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Third Sector said volunteers already played an important role in the public sector, and that the Government was looking at ways to increase the number of volunteers in public services.


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