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Volunteering Fund

Volume 715: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

Statement

My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Phil Hope) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Following the Third Sector Funding and Investment Review in 2008, and a subsequent procurement exercise conducted by the department to appoint an organisation to manage and deliver a new Health and Social Care volunteering fund, the Government have today announced that they have awarded the contract to act as volunteering fund manager to a partnership led by ECOTEC, with PrimeTimers, Attend and CSV, who will deliver support linked to grant funding to enable third sector organisations to achieve their objectives for long-term sustainability.

The volunteering fund will provide two distinct grant funding schemes: a local grant scheme aimed at supporting volunteering in health and social care, with awards made subject to applicants being connected at local level to commissioners; and a national portfolio scheme through which national organisations will be able to apply for more substantial awards to deliver more strategic or developmental volunteering programmes. The fund manager will also share good practice, disseminate learning and deliver training and development for local and national volunteering programmes.

Volunteers play a range of critically important roles in our communities, and in the context of health and social care: contributing to the delivery of high-quality health, care and support services; improving health and well-being; helping to reduce health and social inequality. They frequently offer support to people at the most vulnerable points in their lives.

The future of health and social care provision places an ever stronger emphasis on better quality and more personalised services, creating even more potential for new roles and opportunities for volunteering that complement the services provided by the paid workforce and utilise the expertise of service users in the provision of services.

The volunteering fund will replace the existing opportunities for volunteering (OFV) scheme over the next three years. Building on the success of the OFV scheme since 1982, the new volunteering fund will be more closely aligned with departmental strategic objectives; therefore increasing the impact of the Government’s investment in volunteering in directly supporting its integration with the delivery of departmental strategic outcomes.

Overall, ECOTEC’s planned approach will support coherent investment, reinforce the role of volunteering in health and social care, and support implementation of the funding and investment review and the developing strategic vision for volunteering in health and social care.