The government increases accessibility to volunteering

  • Funding to improve access to volunteering through more opportunities, better allocation of training and resources
  • Minister of Civil Society considers fund an “important step” to ensure equal access for all

The government has launched a £ 7million fund with the Arts Council England, the Pears Foundation and the NHS Charities Together to help people access more volunteering opportunities in various sectors including the arts and sport , Civil Society Minister Nigel Huddleston announced today.

The Volunteering Futures Fund, which includes nearly £ 6million from government direct and £ 1.15million from the Pears Foundation and the NHS Charities Together, will provide opportunities for a wide range of people, recognizing that it There are people across the country facing barriers to volunteering. The fund will put a strong emphasis on young people, isolated people, people with disabilities and people from ethnic minorities.

Organizations that carry out projects in the arts, heritage, museums, libraries, sport, civil society and youth sectors are encouraged to apply. These include nationwide projects to create internships for young people, in addition to more regional and local projects, such as those that work with a particular football club to provide volunteering opportunities.

Arts Council England will distribute £ 4.7million from the fund provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and today launched its Expressions of Interest competition, welcoming bids from £ 100,001 or more, for organizations to fund the training and support needed to carry out high quality volunteer projects.

In addition to the £ 4.7million in grants that ACE will administer, DCMS has awarded the Pears Foundation and NHS charities a sum of £ 1.15million. The two backers also add to the total themselves with an additional £ 1.15million, bringing the combined fund to £ 7million.

Civil Society Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

Making volunteering opportunities accessible to all is an important step towards leveling this country.

There are so many benefits to volunteering, such as improving mental health, learning new skills, and integrating into a community.

I urge organizations to apply for grants through Arts Council England, to develop and provide high quality volunteering opportunities.

The Department of Digital, Cultural, Media and Sports Sectors relies heavily on the hard work and dedication of volunteers to provide essential services in the youth, charity, sports and arts sectors. Volunteering also has undeniable benefits, including the acquisition of new skills, improved mental well-being and opportunities to connect with new people and join social networks, while contributing to society.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chairman of Arts Council England, said:

Volunteers are at the heart of the cultural sector and help make possible many creative and cultural events enjoyed by people across the country. We know that volunteering can have huge physical, mental and emotional health benefits as well, and so we are excited to work with DCMS to administer this fund, and help spread the benefits of volunteering further to people from all walks of life. , in all regions of the country.

Ellie Orton OBE, Executive Director of NHS Charities Together, said:

Volunteering is the lifeblood of our communities and it also has very important personal benefits, from meeting new people to improving your mental health. This fund provides a much needed boost to help young people of all backgrounds access life-changing volunteering opportunities, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.

We support a network of 240 NHS charities across the UK – many of which have unparalleled expertise in delivering youth volunteering programs – and we look forward to working with them to channel these funds where they are most needed and can have the greatest impact. This includes increased support for our NHS workforce, as they face the most difficult winter in its history.

Sir Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chairman of the Pears Foundation, said:

For so many civil society organizations, volunteers are the backbone of their work; the extraordinary response of volunteers to Covid-19 only underscored this. Now, as we look to the future, it is crucial that we help these organizations capitalize on this response, remove remaining barriers to recruitment, and further develop the infrastructure to support and invest in their volunteers.

We are delighted to partner again with DCMS to support some of our long-term partners in this work, carrying out projects aimed at developing volunteer opportunities for and benefiting people with disabilities and young people.

Following expressions of interest, Arts Council England will award grants by the end of March 2022, marking the start of two years of activity.


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