Volunteering charities still in the dark about government jobseekers scheme

Department for Work and Pensions urged to provide details

Volunteering organisations are waiting to hear from the Department for Work and Pensions how it plans to establish a volunteer brokerage scheme for jobseekers.

The scheme, which was announced last week in the Government's third sector action plan, will give 40,000 unemployed people access to volunteering opportunities so they can contribute to their communities and acquire new skills.

It will be backed by £10m over the next two years.

The DWP and the Office of the Third Sector have not yet said when they will call for bids. But Third Sector spoke to a number of organisations that had been in contact with the Government and were awaiting further details about the scheme.

A spokesman for Volunteering England said: "We are looking forward to hearing from the DWP and the OTS that they recognise the essential role of local volunteer centres in this programme.

"There are centres that already work with the long-term unemployed, but they could be supported more; we hope this will be reflected in the announcement."

Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, executive director of Community Service Volunteers, said: "CSV has had discussions with the DWP. We hope a worthwhile programme will emerge, but we will not act further until there is a call for bids."

Tracey Herald, head of policy and projects at youth volunteering organisation v, said: "v is committed to working with the DWP to consider how our existing networks and expertise can be deployed to maximise volunteering opportunities for unemployed youth."

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