The role of volunteering in the 2012 Olympic Games became clearer this year. In March it emerged that the London Development Agency would work with volunteer centres to recruit and manage around 8,000 volunteers to act as tour guides during the Games. In July it was confirmed that the restaurant chain McDonald’s would be responsible for recruiting and training the 70,000 people who would volunteer on the main site during the Games.
Volunteering has played a big role in the government’s big society agenda. In November the government named the 12 organisations that would run its National Citizen Service programme, under which school leavers will spend their summer holiday doing voluntary work.
But many volunteering charities had a difficult year. In August it was reported that Volunteering England, CSV, TimeBank and BTCV were among the organisations that will be hit by the cuts to the Office for Civil Society’s strategic partners programme. In November it emerged that Volunteering England was set to shed 31 jobs – more than half of its workforce – as a result of the cuts. In July the government scrapped a schools volunteering programme run by v, causing the charity to make about 90 staff redundant.
Other government policies also affected volunteering. A scheme introduced by the Labour government, under which migrants applying for British citizenship would have their applications fast-tracked if they could show they had done voluntary work, was abolished in November. This followed the announcement in June that the government would review the vetting and barring scheme introduced by Labour, under which staff and volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults would register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority.