Coronavirus: Advice for your organisation 

 

Volunteering and coronavirus: How you can help

Volunteering

  • Latest research showcases a mixed picture on the time and the availability of volunteers. According to the latest results of the Covid-19 Voluntary Sector Impact Barometer, 40% of the 710 respondents have experienced a decrease in the amount of unpaid time contributed by volunteers since March with just 27% reporting an increase.

  • Ahead of the launch of Volunteers’ Week 2021, 1-7 June, new research has revealed a far more mixed impact from the pandemic for charities and volunteer numbers than many headlines have suggested. The research also reveals increased positivity among charities, greater diversity among UK volunteers, and the rise of the digital volunteer.

     

  • The latest research from the covid-19 voluntary sector impact barometer reveals that while the majority of charities and voluntary sector organisations have drawn up plans to address equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) issues in their workplace, volunteers and services (79%) – with 59% of these revising their EDI approach since March 2020 – implementing these plans and increasing diversity has remained a challenge due to the impact of the pandemic and a lack of resources.

  • More organisations are creating and advertising ‘micro-volunteering’ opportunities, according to new research from NCVO published today.

    Demand for such volunteering opportunities, often tasks that can be completed online or on smartphones, is also likely to grow, the research concludes, as it provides a more accessible form of volunteering which is increasingly sought after. Growth will also be driven by technological development.

  • The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which represents charities and volunteering, has welcomed the government's announcement that the National Citizen Service (NCS) will be given a royal charter along with measures to enhance its accountability. NCS has provided positive experiences for many young people and helped them develop important skills.

    However, NCVO said that NCS could still do more to work with local charities to ensure it reaches its potential as a starting point for life-long volunteering.

  • A national programme enables Volunteer Centre Camden (VCC) to try out an innovative way of supporting resource strapped volunteer involving organisations and at the same time, helps increase the employability of individual volunteers.

  • Organisations across the country are holding events to thank volunteers for their dedication and contribution. Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the millions of volunteers who give up their time in the service of others. Events are taking place across the UK from 1–12 June to mark Volunteers’ Week, which this year is running for an extra five days to coincide with the Patron’s Lunch on 12 June.

  • Volunteering England and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations are commencing formal discussions with a view to merging.

  • A new charity ‘super conference’ will replace its annual conference this summer, NCVO announced today.

  • Martyn Lewis, NCVO’s chair of trustees, has been awarded a knighthood for services to the voluntary sector, particularly the hospice movement, in the 2016 new year's honours.

  • Justin Davis Smith, executive director of volunteering and development, said:

    'Volunteering has the potential to transform people's employment prospects – but clearly it must be freely entered into. NCVO sought and received assurances from DWP last year that mandated Community Work Placements, and any other sanctions-backed placements, will not be conflated with volunteering. Nevertheless, we have suggested that charities consider carefully whether to be involved.

  • Commenting on the LGA proposal for council tax discounts for volunteers, Justin Davis Smith, executive director for volunteering and development at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which represents charities in England, said:

    ‘We very much welcome any ideas for promoting volunteering, but this proposal raises both practical problems and questions of principle.

  • Charlotte Ravenscroft, head of policy and research at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

    ‘Many charities fear the new welfare cap will drive the government to make spending decisions that will lead to vulnerable people bearing the brunt of further cuts. Further details announced today do not resolve our concerns. We have called for a proper consultation on these proposals and also for any cap to have consultation mechanisms built into it.

  • Following a call in today's Telegraph to make the National Citizen Service compulsory for 16-year-olds, NCVO's executive director of volunteering and development, Justin Davis Smith, commented:

    'The National Citizen Service has the potential to make a significant positive contribution to young people's lives, and NCVO has broadly welcomed plans to expand it over the next few years.

    'However, we are concerned about the impact compulsion could have on young people's attitudes towards volunteering and what this might mean for their engagement in the longer term. The programme is increasingly being positioned as a staging post on a journey of social engagement for young people; it would be short-sighted to assume that making it compulsory would be an improvement and it could mean that young people miss out on the unique experience of volunteering and the benefits it can bring. Volunteering by its very nature has to be undertaken freely and any attempt to compel people to take part would fundamentally undermine this core principle. Rather than mandating people to take part we should be working to make the programme even more appealing, and to help young people design and develop a range of high-quality volunteering opportunities which will set them up for a lifetime of social action.

    'Finally, the claim that charities would be 'unpatriotic' for not taking part in a compulsory scheme is nonsense. Charities are not political organisations; they have the right to defend the fundamental principle of volunteering without being accused of ulterior motives.'

  • The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is calling for charities to protect their historical records, as part of a new project to archive charity sector documents.

    The five-year scheme, funded by the British Academy, will reach across the UK and seeks to digitally preserve key voluntary sector records, particularly those dating back to the creation of the modern welfare state in 1945. It aims to ensure that records relating to welfare reform, which transformed the relationship between charities and the state, are not lost.

  • Commenting on today’s announcement by the Ministry of Justice on the providers of rehabilitation services across England and Wales, Sir Stuart Etherington said:

    “Specialist charities, many involving dedicated volunteers, can make all the difference to the lives of people leaving prison and help reduce reoffending. It’s pleasing to see that after consulting widely with the voluntary sector the Government has taken on board some of the lessons of the Work Programme – particularly in terms of programme structure and supply chain management.

  • NCVO has welcomed new new government commitments on safeguarding in charities.

  • Charities have been warned against inadvertently exploiting the precarious employment situation of young people by creating poor-quality 'intern' positions.

  • An independent report today illustrates how volunteers contribute millions of pounds worth of hidden time, commitment and energy to the charity sector every year.

  • A new report from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), published today, explores what organisations are doing to improve the diversity of their volunteers.

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