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Voluntary Work

Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements his Department has put in place for jobseekers in Oxfordshire to access work-focused volunteering opportunities as part of their job search. (262956)

We believe that volunteering alongside looking for work can help to develop useful skills for work and keep jobseekers in touch with the labour market. Provided jobseekers are available for and actively seeking work, they can take part in unlimited volunteering work.

Jobcentre Plus has over 2,400 partnerships with local third sector organisations across the country. These complement the service Jobcentre Plus offers, providing customers access to additional advice and support. Personal advisers in Oxfordshire have five main websites that they use and share with customers who would benefit from doing voluntary work. They are: Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA), Oxford Radcliffe Hospital Volunteers, Smart, Do-it and the Oxfordshire county council website.

In addition to these existing partnerships, new measures to encourage volunteering as a means of developing skills for work are being introduced as part of the jobseeker's support at six months package from April 2009. Through this package, those who have been unemployed and claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months or more will have access to a range of support including recruitment subsidies, work-focused training, help to start a new business and access to work-focused volunteering placements delivered through third sector partners.

Jobseekers who have been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for six months and would like to volunteer to maintain or develop their skills for work can discuss with their Jobcentre Plus personal adviser how they can make use of the extra support on offer from April 2009.