We're TimeBank, the national volunteering charity. We recruit and train volunteers to deliver mentoring projects that tackle complex social problems. We also work with businesses to engage their staff in volunteering.
In this manifesto we've outlined what we want the next Government to do to support volunteering. We believe that great volunteering can transform the lives of both volunteers and beneficiaries by building stronger, happier and more inclusive communities.
Don't reinvent the wheel
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel – there’s far too much of that happening already, with ill-thought out initiatives calling for more people to volunteer without acknowledging the numbers that already do. We urge you to work with existing volunteering organisations to draw on their skills and experience.
Recognise that volunteering is not free
Organisations invest substantial resources in volunteering – and this at a time when the voluntary sector is being called upon to do a great deal more with a great deal less.
The existing national volunteering infrastructure must be recognised and supported by Government if it is to deliver its full potential.
Show that volunteers can play a vital role in community integration
We know that poor language skills and lack of English can drive communities apart. Our volunteer-led English classes have enabled thousands of residents to play a greater role in their community and aided their integration into British society.
We want the Government to support this efficient and cost effective approach to building stronger and more inclusive communities.
Encourage volunteering's role in early intervention
We believe passionately that we need to tackle social problems before they escalate and that volunteer mentoring can play a significant role in early intervention. We want the Government to recognise that volunteering is a proven and cost-effective way of supporting people through difficult transitions in their lives, when they may be vulnerable to mental health problems.
Acknowledge the value that volunteering brings
Volunteering has a crucial impact on our national life. Around 15 million people in the UK volunteer regularly and the ONS values their economic worth at £23 billion. And this doesn’t even recognise informal or infrequent volunteering.
We want the Government to promote the value of volunteering and encourage a climate in which it flourishes. It should clearly advocate that volunteering involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit others. It is freely given and not for financial gain, incentive or obligation. The principle of non-payment of volunteers is central to society’s understanding of volunteering.
Lead the way on employee volunteering
We actively encourage employers to support their staff into volunteering, both as an entry point to volunteering and as a way of giving back to the community in which the business is based. We want the Government to lead the way – to encourage its own staff to volunteer and invest in the programme to enable all its departments to engage in meaningful volunteering.