Volunteering England's 'recession challenge'

Charity calls on government, business and the third sector to invest in volunteering projects

Volunteering will help revive the economy, according to Volunteering England.

The charity has issued a nine-point ‘recession challenge' to government, business and the voluntary sector ahead of a meeting with sector representatives and the Office of the Third Sector next week.

The ‘challenge' says investing in volunteering projects would help stimulate economic renewal and calls for additional funding for organisations that recruit volunteers.

Representatives from the Office of the Third Sector's 45 strategic partners will discuss ways the sector can respond to the recession. They will continue talks started at a meeting of sector representatives and government in November at which Kevin Brennan, Minister for the Third Sector, said the Government would publish a recession action plan for the sector in early 2009.

Justin Davis Smith, chief executive of Volunteering England, said now was not the time for organisations to cut back spending on volunteer management to save money. "The economic conditions set up new possibilities for working with volunteers," he said.

Volunteering England's nine points are:

  • Volunteering is a route to new employment for many people
  • Investing in volunteering projects now will build human capital as well as economic renewal
  • Organisations that recruit and involve volunteers need funding to do so
  • Job centres must adhere to Department for Work and Pensions regulations that allow time for volunteering while claiming benefits
  • Cutting back on volunteer management will be a false economy
  • Volunteers must not replace paid staff
  • Businesses should give time and money to volunteering organisations
  • Employer-supported volunteering will allow businesses to acquire new transferable skills
  • The economic conditions set up new possibilities for working with volunteers


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