Friday 9 April 2010

Rural affairs!

No, not a blog about untoward things happening in Charlbury, but a new ACEVO special interest group!

ACEVO has developed and grown services to members enormously in the past few years, particularly since we established our North office based in Leeds.

Interestingly we were asked recently to extend this with a particular focus for CEO's whose work has a more rural base. So we are gathering information on how best to achieve this. We are particularly seeking out CEOs working in rural areas to establish one of our special interest groups. If you are interested, contact our ACEVO North Director, Jenny Berry (

It's interesting that volunteering has now taken a lead role in the election debate. I must say I like the Tory idea of a national citizen service. I also like what Labour has done and is proposing on community service and the role of V in schools.

Getting more young people to volunteer, and developing good volunteer programmes is clearly beneficial and helps build social cohesion whilst playing an important role in personal development.

The problem with these plans by both parties is that they tend to think volunteering is a free good and does not involve any costs. Yet a well led and professional approach to volunteering does cost. It costs the charity or social enterprise to organise, to train and to monitor volunteers. Without a professional approach those on volunteering programmes do not learn. And there are overhead costs in areas like safeguarding checks, health and safety and the like.

Gordon Brown has had a good record on volunteering support so I do not see much of a divide in the parties on this. Where the problem arises is when politicians fail to properly fund their new initiatives and think we can deliver them by waving our magic wands!

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