The Home Secretary, Michael Howard MP, pledged more than £20 million over the next four years for the Make a Difference initiative when he launched a six point plan on June 6. £3 million is available in 1995 for new volunteering initiatives, including:Youth Challenge to provide a place for all 15-25 year olds who want one by 1997;
20 new local volunteer bureaux;
and £1.5 million funding for innovative projects involving the elderly and young.
These proposals are the government’s response to 81 recommendations from the Make a Difference Team, a 16 strong group chaired by Nick Ward and including Sir Neil Shaw of Tate & Lyle and Sandy Leitch of Allied Dunbar. The Team produced an outline volunteering strategy for the UK, which included recommendations for employers:
one individual at board or very senior level be nominated to oversee effective employee involvement in local communities;
companies and local agencies to establish networks, with a named local contacts to exchange information about opportunities.
Contact Make a Difference office on 0171 273 4600
AGENDA FOR ACTION
Fifteen of Britain’s top charities published an Agenda for Action on June 6, to coincide with the Make a Difference initiative. The charities, including BTCV, CSV and Oxfam which together involve over one million volunteers, urge the government to harness volunteer enthusiasm in critical areas such as education, crime prevention, the environment and community care. Among the ten recommended action points are:
employers to designate a point of contact for opportunities for current and retired staff;
a nationwide Citizens Service, starting with six pilot projects; and
training for professionals (social workers, teachers, police officers) in skills needed to maximize volunteer involvement.
Contact Chris Reed, Community Service Volunteers, on 0171 278 6601
EMPLOYEES IN THE COMMUNITY
The 1995 Employee in the Community Awards were launched by Business in the Community on June 19, sponsored by Grand Metropolitan in partnership with the Voluntary Services Unit of the Home Office. They aim to promote business involvement within communities through employees and to recognise companies which encourage their employees to volunteer. The closing date is September 15 and award categories are divided into large companies, small to medium companies and public sector organisations. In addition, there are special awards for employee development, innovation and partnership. Contact Serena Gordon, Business in the Community, on 0171 629 1600
EMPLOYEES AND THE COMMUNITY
Coinciding with the launch of the Awards, PRIMA Europe, publishers of Community Affairs Briefing, produced a new report on the business benefits of employee involvement. Employees and the Community: How successful companies meet human resource needs through community involvement looks at staff development, morale and motivation, and recruitment. It links community involvement to the strategic human resource needs of companies (see Best Practice article below). The year long research project was funded by British Airways, BT, Grand Met, IBM UK, Kingfisher, NatWest Group and Whitbread. Contact Mike Tuffrey, PRIMA Europe, on 0171 287 6676
ONE-STOP ADVICE CENTRE
At the end of June, the Volunteer Centre UK’s new advice centre for employer-supported volunteering opened for business. Offering support and promoting best practice, its corporate sponsors include Allied Dunbar, British Gas, GrandMet, IBM UK, Unilever and Whitbread. Services include a telephone help-line, consultancy, literature, training and network meetings. Contact David Apparicio, The Volunteer Centre UK, 0171 388 0300
Five thousand resource pack were issued in preparation for Volunteers Week, held from June 1 to 7, and over 2,500 phone calls received by the National Volunteering Help-Line. Organised by The Volunteer Centre UK with support from several companies including Boots and The Body Shop Foundation, the week also saw the launch of a national campaign to promote the value of volunteering to school and college leavers. Volunteering for a Better Career, organised by BTCV with funding from PowerGen includes a resource pack with details of more than fifty vacancies for volunteer officers, along with information and advice on how volunteering can help young people in their careers. Contact Sheila Edwin, The Volunteer Centre UK, on 0171 388 9888 or Andrea Mannings, BTCV, on 01491 839766
EUROPEAN VOLUNTEERING LEAGUE
Britain comes third for volunteering in a league table of nine European countries. According to A New Civic Europe? – the extent and nature of volunteering, published by The Volunteer Centre UK on June 2, on average 27% of people volunteer in Europe as a whole, with 38% volunteering in the Netherlands, 36% in Sweden, and 34% in Britain. However British volunteers tend to be less active than other Europeans; only half volunteer once a month or more, compared to 85% in Germany. Contact The Volunteer Centre UK on 0171 388 9888
Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 23 – August, 1995