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UK's Russell Commission urged to set up volunteering resource
16 December 2004

London: A national hub to point young people to volunteering opportunities has emerged as a popular idea in the Russell Commission's preliminary consultation.

Discussions held with young people across the UK have shown widespread recognition of the value of a national information resource as part of a new framework on youth action and engagement.

Young people also identified the need for better information on volunteering, combined with local support. Practitioners are keen to get youth workers involved in such a system.

Other popular ideas among young people include promotional campaigns that enable them to recruit other young volunteers, having the chance to rate volunteering opportunities and full-time placements offering qualifications.

But opinion is split on the idea of a point-scoring loyalty card that offers discounts in exchange for volunteering.

It has been warmly received by young people, but practitioners are more sceptical.

Young people also stressed the need for more resources to set up and run their own projects.

Jamie Thomas, head of the Russell Commission's review team, described the results so far as "extremely interesting".

"It's important that the commission's final recommendations benefit all 16- to 25-year-olds, as well as the sector," he said.

The commission was set up in May in a bid to increase the level of young people's involvement in volunteering. The resulting framework could be applied across the UK, although devolved nations will be able to choose their own elements. The consultation ends on 31 December.