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MP’s Call For Urgent Infrastructure Review In The Wake Of COVID-19

Sun May 17 2020

The All-Party Parliamentary Group For Social Integration Calls Warns Future Volunteers May Be Discouraged

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration recently warned that, whilst the rate of increased volunteerism in the wake of the coronavirus is great, new infrastructure was needed within the Not-for-Profit sector to ensure new volunteers have a satisfactory experience, remaining engaged with their chosen charity.

They floated the idea of the Government introducing a program to strengthen the UK’s volunteering infrastructure to capitalise on the amount of people stepping up to help during the current pandemic.

In their report they released they state that COVID-19 has resulted in “more and new types of volunteering”, with over 750,000 people signing up to help the NHS alone.

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However, there is not yet the infrastructure to respond to so many volunteers and many people who have offered their time to the NHS have yet to be offered tasks

There is a risk that first-time volunteers who offer their time may be disappointed if they are not allocated tasks to undertake, discouraging them from further volunteering. The government should put in place a new programme of work to strengthen local volunteering and increase its levels among groups less likely to volunteer.

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration

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The report states that charitable organisations recruiting volunteers (including the Government) must start planning now om how to harness this volunteering legacy.

They suggest all councils in England should have a Cabinet lead whose sole remit would be to cover social isolation and volunteering.

 

The large digital deficiency some not-for-profit organisations are working with  means that many charities have had to fall back to older methods of engagement such as letters, calls or leaflets to communicate with new volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic… something that is obviously not ideal in todays digitally engaged world.

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There has been a hugely encouraging upsurge of willingness to volunteer and to look out for each other. The challenge for policy-makers is now to make sure we have the infrastructure and capacity to ride that wave and to work out how best to deploy and sustain it.

Peter Gibson - Conservative MP for Darlington and member of the APPG

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Sun May 17 2020

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