This letter is particularly timely as 2011 is European Year of Volunteering.
I thank the sender for drawing the matter to my attention and I will do whatever I can to turn round this short-sighted decision by the Office for Civil Society.
Funding cuts to volunteering charity TimeBank
I have been shocked to hear that the national volunteering charity TimeBank has been refused funding by the Office for Civil Society this week. TimeBank has a track record of helping 300,000 people into volunteering, and in my opinion, has made a significant contribution to the government’s vision of a Big Society for the past decade. It therefore seems very contradictory to me that the government has chosen not to support an organisation that offers thousands of people the training and support they need to volunteer and improve their communities.
I understand that these are challenging times, but I am seriously concerned that cuts like these will not only devastate the organisations that enable volunteering, but also the implications they have on the public sector and wider society. I strongly believe that volunteers are a unique force for social change and can supplement public services in a way that cannot be achieved through traditional services. But for volunteers to have a lasting impact, they need advice, training and ongoing support, and TimeBank clearly has got the expertise and processes in place to deliver this service.
Without the funding from the OCS to cover their day to day running costs the organisation will not be able to continue to facilitate and improve volunteering in the UK. I therefore ask you to please bring up this issue in parliament and ask Nick Hurd to urgently reconsider his funding decision for TimeBank.