V to launch £10.5m volunteering initiative

Youth volunteering charity v is launching a £10.5m programme to allow 1,000 young people to volunteer full-time in the public sector.

Structured placements in nurseries, play programmes and youth work will be created in 34 local authorities, starting in March. The placements will last 44 weeks and lead to a level 2 National Vocational Qualification.

Volunteers aged between 16 and 25 will receive a variable maintenance grant, handed out according to need and averaging about £100 to cover living costs, but not accommodation.

A spokesman for v said this was to avoid breaking national minimum wage regulations. Volunteers who do not have free accommodation will be eligible for housing benefit – v has issued guidance to local authorities on benefit entitlements.

After completing the 44-week programme, volunteers will receive ‘personal development grants' of up to £1,500 to pay for education or training.

The 34 participating local authorities will be revealed in January and the programme will last two years.

Local authorities will decide who to recruit, but 40 per cent of places must be given to people who are not in education, employment or training.

Terry Ryall, chief executive of v, said the programme would draw out hidden talents that might otherwise go undiscovered, give young people skills and experience to find work and allow them to influence public services.

"We are particularly mindful of the need to engage disadvantaged young people," she said.

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