Headlines: March 3rd, 2000

The Government has given new profile to those unsung heroes who work, usually unpaid, for their community.The Prime Minister attended and spoke at the first ever the Active Communities Convention and Celebration yesterday, held at the Wembley Arena and the Dome.

And he announced that the next spending review will be looking at how to provide support for volunteer managers right across public services to help recruit, prepare, and train volunteers – new help for teachers, in preparing prisoners for life outside, supporting nurses, helping older people living alone and mentoring young people.

He pointed to examples of best practice in Ryburn Valley High School, Calderdale, where parents organise challenges and exhibitions, and where sixth form students have been trained by the Samaritans to do peer counselling. And to NHS trusts like Pinderfields and Pontefract Hospitals where 800 volunteers help support patients, providing services ranging from hairdressing to creches.

And he announced that the head of the Civil Service, Sir Richard Wilson, is to encourage all government departments to give their staff a day each year to volunteer.

Similar gatherings to the one in London were held in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast

For the full text of the Prime Minister’s speech: http://www.number-10.gov.uk/news.asp?SectionId=32