Fund to encourage public sector staff to volunteer

A new £13m fund will allow public sector workers to continue to receive pension contributions while they are volunteering abroad.

The move comes after proposals in the Commission on the Future of Volunteering’s Manifesto for Change, which said the Government should do more to encourage volunteering among public sector workers.

“The Government is providing more support and encouragement for those who have skills to share,” said Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, launching the initiative today at VSO’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

“Volunteering plays a valuable role in our society, not just in helping to reduce global poverty, but in the wealth of experience volunteers will bring back to the UK and into public service.”

The fund will be available to volunteers leaving the UK between April 2008 and March 2011 for periods of volunteering of between seven and 24 months.

No cost will fall to the employer or volunteer, and the scheme is open to any member of a UK public-sector pension scheme, including teachers, civil servants, members of the armed services, fire-fighters and workers in the NHS and local government.

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