Headlines: November 23rd, 2005

There has been a 20 per cent increase in the number of people giving their time to help projects aiming to reduce crime, improve health and increase learning and community involvement opportunities through the UK’s largest volunteering and training charity, CSV.In a review today the charity says 195,000 people volunteer each year. CSV also reports a 12.5 per cent increase in its turnover to 43.6 million pounds. The number of trainees has also risen by 20 per cent 11,500 with a further 4,415 people training on CSV’s media programmes. Senior journalists from the national media have volunteered their own time to highlight some of CSV’s projects as part of the charity’s latest annual review.

Alexandra Frean, Social Affairs Correspondent for The Times, for example, writes about CSV’s “simple, yet bold” Volunteers in Child Protection project, which is designed to help vulnerable children and to support frontline social workers. CSV is looking into how volunteers can help reduce risks to children and the first volunteers are making regular welfare visits to the homes of children on the child protection register in two pilot local authority areas, Sunderland and the London Borough of Bromley.

Anushka Asthana, Home News Correspondent for The Observer reports on CSV’s work to reduce re-offending rates by allowing prisoners to volunteer in communities before they are released and Margaret Hughes, a recent Guardian columnist, describes how older volunteers can add value to the work of family doctors and their patients. Volunteers from CSV’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme are now ‘prescribed’ at more than 270 GP surgeries and help to identify people who need assistance and encourage those who need treatment to have it. Another example in the review features a new scheme called Capital Volunteering that demonstrates how mental health service users can improve their chances of recovery by volunteering to help others and how such initiatives could lead to savings in hospital care. Finally it looks at how CSV’s Springboard centres offer specialist support and skills training for young people from troubled backgrounds.

CSV’s Executive Director, Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, said the charity had made a huge difference with more volunteers, more innovative opportunities, more trainees and more progress towards its goal of ensuring every citizen had the chance to participate in the community. “Challenges in the year ahead include the Russell Commission on youth volunteering and how to harness volunteer energy to tackle child poverty, both financial and poverty of experience and personal support,” she said.

The full report can be viewed at http://www.csv.org.uk/