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Voluntary Work

Volume 23: debated on Monday 10 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services with which charities he has been discus-sing the use of £4 million announced last year for the recruitment of the unemployed for volunteer work; what progress is being made; and if he will make a statement.

We issued a consultation paper last December to a wide range of voluntary and other organisations about a scheme for expanding the opportunities for unemployed people to undertake voluntary work in the health and personal social service fields. We are grateful to all those organizations—about 200—which sent comments, and for the general welcome given to the scheme.We have decided that the £3·3 million available in England for this "Opportunities for Volunteering" scheme would be best used to give grants to local voluntary sector projects and organisations. We are discussing with a number of national voluntary organisations how they might be involved in the administration of the scheme. I hope to make a detailed announcement in the next two or three weeks.