Government announces £6m volunteer funding

The Government has announced £6m of funding for volunteering in response to Manifesto for Change, the report by the Commission on the Future of Volunteering.

Phil Hope, the Minister for the Third Sector, said he accepted the vast majority of the report’s recommendations and the Government had provided more funding than it had been asked for in some areas.

However, two of the report’s key recommendations were rejected. The Government said there would be no £5m annual fund to support partnerships between charities and councils because money was already being invested in this area through existing organisations. It also said there would be no cabinet minister with responsibility for volunteering.

The Government will instead invest £4m in new training programmes for volunteers and volunteer managers and £2m to create a fund that will help disabled people access volunteering.

It will also produce guidance to help avoid unnecessary criminal records checks being carried out.

“The Government is committed to opening up volunteering opportunities for people in all parts of society, because it gives so much to the community and so much to the volunteer,” said Hope.

Justin Davis Smith, chief executive of Volunteering England, welcomed the investment and said he looked forward to a more joined-up approach to volunteering across government departments.

“We are, however, disappointed that they have ignored the commission’s call for a £5m matched fund for the strategic development and modernisation of volunteering infrastructure,” he said.

“We have campaigned for sustainable funding for volunteer centres and other volunteering development agencies for many years, and we would welcome further clarification from government as to why they are consistently neglecting this key area.”

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