Volunteers are not neets, says Volunteering England

Organisation calls on Government to redefine employment category

Volunteering England is lobbying the Government to remove volunteers from its category of people who are classed as 'not in education, employment or training'.

The organisation said that placing volunteers in the ‘neet' group devalued volunteering and failed to recognise the positive impact it can have.  

Stephen Brown, public affairs and campaigns officer at Volunteering England, said it would be relatively cheap and straightforward for the Government to redefine the category, which is laid out in the Education and Skills Act 2008.

The move would make it easier for volunteering groups to access funding, he said.

They are currently unable to apply for funds, including "significant amounts of European funding", that are aimed at getting people out of the neet group, said Brown.  

Changing the definition would also encourage local councils to fund volunteering groups, he said.

"Many councils have made commitments to reducing the number of neets and, if permitted, might consider volunteering as a way of doing this," he said.

Brown said Volunteering England was in contact with the Department for Children, Schools and Families and would hold meetings with the department during the coming weeks.

A DCSF spokesman said: "We recognise the importance of volunteering and the part it plays in communities. Volunteers are not counted as neet as long as they are doing some form of recognised training or education alongside their volunteering. It is important that young people continue learning as much as possible after school."


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