09 March 2006
by Ben Pindar
The UK government has today unveiled a major £3 million two-year strategy which aims to demolish any barriers to volunteering.
UK's Home Office chiefs have been handed the huge cash boost to spearhead the "Volunteering For All" programme which will reach across government to identify and break down obstacles to volunteering and promote new opportunities to potential volunteers.
The programme is specifically targeted at three groups who have been identified as less likely to volunteer - people with disabilities or limiting long-term illness, people with no formal qualifications and people from the Asian community.
Home Office Minister Paul Goggins said: "Volunteers really are the heart and soul of our communities, but many potential volunteers think that opportunities to become involved are not open to them or that red tape is standing in their way.
"This strategy is all about removing barriers, so that anyone who wants to volunteer can feel empowered to take part.
"This is more than a Home Office initiative. It is a cross-Government programme to really tackle the obstacles preventing those who want to make a difference from volunteering.
"Working with partners in the voluntary sector 'Volunteering For All' will be able to reach out to these groups, ensuring that everyone can play their part in society."
Volunteering For All will run from April 2006 to April 2008 and data from the 2001 census shows there are 15.5 million people in the groups being targeted by the campaign.
Statistics have shown only 16% of people with no formal qualifications participated in formal volunteering once a month compared with 31% of people with formal qualifications
Only 23% of people with disabilities or limiting long-term illnesses (LLTI) participated in formal volunteering once a month compared to 30% of those without disabilities or LLTI and only 20% of Asian people participated in formal volunteering at least once a month compared with 34% of mixed race people, 30% of black people and 29% of white people.