Press releases

Step Up to Serve celebrates a year of #iwill pledges for young volunteers

This week marks the first anniversary of the Step up to Serve campaign, which is committed to doubling the number of young people engaged in social action by 2020. NCVO has pledged its support to this initiative and will shortly be releasing a new guide for organisations interested in involving more young people in volunteering.

Step Up to Serve encourages businesses, organisations and individuals to make an #iwill pledge, aiming to embed social action into youth settings and increase access to relevant volunteering opportunities for young people across the UK. Progress is being measured by Ipsos MORI, who today released findings from the first year of the campaign. The findings reveal both the current extent of youth engagement and the challenges which lie ahead in meeting the ambitious goals which have been set.

The research found that 40% of young people volunteer regularly, with most getting involved through school or university. The research also found that the majority of young people want opportunities to volunteer with family and friends, rather than only online, and that taking part in meaningful social action leads to an increased sense of wellbeing.

Commenting on these findings, executive director of volunteering and development at NCVO, Justin Davis Smith, said:

‘This research demonstrates yet again that many young people are already active in their community and that their level of civic involvement compares very favourably with other age groups and with previous generations. Not for nothing has this generation been dubbed Generation Citizenship.

And yet the research also throws up some interesting challenges for the future. Contrary to popular belief this generation is not looking to live their lives completely on the web. Most young people expressed the desire to volunteer face to face with friends and family rather than online, which reinforces the point we have made consistently that the future of volunteering will require an investment in the institutions and individuals which create, broker and manage opportunities, particularly at the local level, such as Volunteer Centres.

Step up to Serve is unique among recent volunteering campaigns in that it has attracted support from all main political parties. As we approach the general election we will be looking for political parties to commit to finding the resources to ensure that the ambitious goals of the campaign are realised, so that every young person who wishes to volunteer will have the opportunity to do so.’

Charity Commission announces review of campaigning guidance – NCVO comment

Speaking at the Civil Society APPG, Charity Commission chief executive Paula Sussex announced that its campaigning guidance, CC9, will be assessed following the general election.

The Charity Commission Guidance on Campaigning and Political Activity by Charities (CC9) clarifies the legal framework for charities engaged in campaigning and political activities as a means of fulfilling their charitable purposes.

In particular, the guidance makes clear that campaigning and political activity can be legitimate and valuable activities for charities to undertake, but a charity must never be party political or give its support in any way to a political party.

Responding to the announcement, NCVO's chief executive Sir Stuart Etherington said:

'Within the context of recent media and political comment, NCVO's members regularly tell us of their concerns that their right to campaign is under threat. They also tell us that CC9 is useful and informative and that it strikes the right balance between protecting legitimate campaigning and guarding against undue influence.

We think CC9 is fit for purpose and that it has stood the test of time. NCVO and its members look forward to working under this guidance in the future.'

Notes

For further information, please contact the NCVO press office.

Forex fines to be used for good causes

Fines levied frim the banks from the rigged forex rates are likely to total £1.1bn. NCVO would urge the government to ring-fence the forex fines for support for local community groups.

Read more: Forex fines to be used for good causes

NCVO responds to the Lobbying Act consultation

Devising laws that protect legitimate campaigning while guarding against undue influence is a delicate balancing act. NCVO does not believe that the Lobbying Act as it stands strikes the right balance. Further consideration of the types of activities covered, a reduction of the length of the regulated period, and the removal of constituency limits and staff costs are all needed to reduce the administrative burden on voluntary organisations.

Read more: NCVO responds to the Lobbying Act consultation

Four charities win national award

Four charities from across the country received a national quality award on Monday. The Winifred Tumim Memorial Prize, awarded annually by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), recognises charities which have demonstrated an exceptionally high standard of governance. The awards were presented at NCVO’s annual Trustee Conference, which marked the launch of this year’s Trustees Week.

Read more: Four charities win national award

NCVO and CES merger to proceed

Details of the merger between the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Charities Evaluation Services have been finalised, it was announced today.

Read more: NCVO and CES merger to proceed

NCVO to review Charity Commission governance structure

NCVO will review the Charity Commission’s governance structure and appointments process in order to find ways for the regulator to put questions about its political neutrality to rest for good, it was announced today.

Read more: NCVO to review Charity Commission governance structure

Changes to the annual return for charities and disclosing campaigning costs – NCVO comment

Commenting on the Charity Commission’s announcement of changes to the annual return for charities , including its decision to return next year to the question of requiring charities to publish their expenditure on ‘campaigning activities’, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said:

'I'm pleased the Commission have listened to our concerns about this proposal. We are in favour of transparency and we have done much to advocate greater transparency ourselves, for example on executive pay, but their proposal as it stood was unworkable.

Read more: Changes to the annual return for charities and disclosing campaigning costs – NCVO comment

Charity Commission powers and funding announcement

Responding to today’s announcement of new funding and legislation to strengthen the Charity Commission, Karl Wilding, director of public policy, said:

'It's been clear for some time that the Charity Commission's enforcement work has not been as strong as it could be. We also know that it has struggled to deal with routine queries from charities in a prompt manner. This investment and its plans to revamp its work are very welcome and we believe they have the potential to make a significant difference. It's crucial we have an effective regulator that deals quickly with any poor practice to help ensure the public can continue to trust charities.

Read more: Charity Commission powers and funding announcement

NCVO announces Tumim Prize finalists

Four charities from across the country have been shortlisted for a national quality award. The Winifred Tumim Memorial Prize, awarded annually by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), rewards charities which have demonstrated an exceptionally high standard of governance.

The four finalists are The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, based in Hampshire; Keech Hospice Care, Luton; Walsingham, a national disability charity; and Cumbria Action for Sustainability.

Read more: NCVO announces Tumim Prize finalists

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