Groups fear 'professionalisation' of volunteering

Community groups have hit out at Government plans to hand more than £100m to youth volunteering because they say the move threatens to "professionalise" volunteering.

Last week, Gordon Brown said that £117m would be given to support the activity through the youth volunteering charity v, raising concerns that volunteering could be separated from the work of grass-roots organisations (Third Sector Online, 24 July).

"This is almost making volunteering an industry in itself which is so unhelpful," said Ben Hughes, chief executive of Bassac, the umbrella body for local groups. "If you talk to our organisations, they would say that volunteering is core to their whole way of working. The danger here is that this is almost professionalising it."

Justin Davis-Smith, acting chief executive of Volunteering England, said v's success would be undermined without investment locally. "We were disappointed that no mention was made in the review of the need to support the modernisation and sustainability of local volunteering infrastructure," he said.

A spokesman for the Office of the Third Sector said: "The approach to is designed to be flexible and done in partnership with local organisations.

"That is why we have set up v as a separate entity. Support for v is just part of our strategy for volunteering."

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