Northern Ireland Executive consults on first volunteering strategy

No change in number of volunteers in the province since 1995

The Northern Ireland Executive has launched a public consultation on the province's first volunteering strategy.

Margaret Ritchie, the minister for social development, said she wanted to double the number of volunteers from 282,000 to half a million and is asking volunteers and voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland how this can be achieved.

The consultation, which is being run by the Department for Social Development, asks participants how the strategy should support and strengthen the volunteering infrastructure, promote the value of volunteering, make it more accessible to hard-to-reach groups and improve volunteers' experiences.

"A consultation on the first volunteering strategy for Northern Ireland offers an opportunity to discuss the main challenges facing volunteering," said Ritchie.

"We want people to come forward and tell us about their views and experiences so we can create a strategy that is meaningful and relevant for them. We can then take action to ensure volunteering thrives in Northern Ireland."

Levels of volunteering in Northern Ireland have remained static since 1995, she said.

A number of public consultation events have also been organised across the country. The consultation closes on 9 October.

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