Don't reinvent the wheel when it comes to volunteering says TimeBank

National volunteering charity TimeBank has called on the next Government to stop reinventing the wheel when it comes to volunteering.  

In its manifesto published this week, the charity says there have been far too many ill-thought out initiatives calling for more people to volunteer without acknowledging the numbers that already do.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of TimeBank, says: “We want the new Government to work much more closely with existing volunteering organisations to draw on their skills and experience, to promote the value of volunteering and encourage a climate in which it flourishes.”

TimeBank urges politicians to recognise that volunteering is not free – that charities invest substantial resources in it – 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 charity also highlights confusion around different definitions of volunteering. It says terms like ‘active citizenship’, ‘citizen service’, ‘civic engagement’ and ‘community benefit work placement’ have led to people thinking volunteering can be a compulsory activity.

It wants the Government to encourage volunteering’s role in early intervention, recognising that it is a proven and cost-effective way of tackling complex social issues, from the challenges of an ageing population to community integration.

And it says the Government should lead the way on employee volunteering and invest in it to enable its own staff to engage in meaningful volunteering. You can see TimeBank’s manifesto at www.timebank.org.uk/policies

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For media information contact Julias@timebank.org.uk tel 020 3111 0721/07713163003

• TimeBank is a national volunteering charity, started in 2000. It recruits and trains volunteers to deliver mentoring projects to tackle complex social problems and also works with businesses to engage their staff in volunteering.

• TimeBank believes that great volunteering can transform the lives of both volunteers and beneficiaries by building stronger, happier and more inclusive communities. For more information take a look at www.timebank.org.uk