Fifteen volunteer centres are to receive funding as part of a £1.95m Big Lottery Fund scheme to improve volunteering infrastructure.
The BLF solicited the bid from Volunteering England, which will manage the scheme and distribute funds to the centres.
It is the BLF’s largest-ever grant for volunteering.
Volunteering England will receive £400,000 to administer the scheme. It plans to recruit two staff. Each local centre will receive about £100,000 over three years.
Tony Edwards, deputy chief executive of Volunteering England, said the scheme would provide a welcome boost to volunteering in a year when many organisations had suffered funding cuts from local authorities.
"They have been hit very hard and are still being hit hard," said Edwards. "This will provide a significant amount of money for the centres."
He said the centres were chosen because they were based in areas that had been particularly badly affected by cuts.
The funding, said Edwards, would be used to "get long-term unemployed on the path back to work using volunteering as the conduit" and to strengthen the capacity of the centres.
Dharmendra Kanani, England director at the BLF, said the award was about supporting centres in the hardest hit areas of England rather than providing general infrastructure support.
Kanani denied the funding was intended to fill gaps caused by the withdrawal of state funding. He said the scheme had been discussed for two years, which pre-dated most cuts to volunteer centres.
The 15 volunteer centres are:
Cornwall – Volunteer Cornwall
Bristol – Volunteering Bristol
Exeter and North Devon – Exeter CVS
Oxfordshire – Volunteer Centre Oxfordshire
Sutton – Volunteer Centre Sutton
Camden – Volunteer Centre Camden
Islington – Voluntary Action Islington
Hertfordshire – Volunteer Centre Dacorum
South Lincolnshire – South Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service
Nottingham – Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service
Sheffield – Voluntary Action Sheffield
Staffordshire – Tamworth Council for Voluntary Service
Liverpool – Volunteer Centre Liverpool
County Durham – 2D Voluntary and Community Support
Pennine Lancashire – Volunteer Centre Blackburn with Darwen