Headlines: September 11th, 2009

New figures show that interest in volunteering is continuing to increase. Research conducted for Volunteering England shows that 86 per cent of volunteer centres have reported an increase in inquiries in the past six months.

Almost three-quarters of centres say they are placing more people into volunteer roles than was the case six months ago. The new figures continue a trend indicated by statistics collected earlier this year. Those showed an increase in the number of people inquiring about volunteering in the six months up to March.

Justin Davis Smith, chief executive of Volunteering England, said a large number of the inquiries were being turned into volunteering placements by the Volunteer Centre network. “Thousands of people are increasingly looking for volunteering opportunities as a way of making good use of their time and as a route back into employment,” he said and added: “The increase in the number of people wanting to volunteer can only be good news for local community services, which will benefit from the skills and time being given.”

The new study, carried out by the Institute for Volunteering Research, also shows the Centres are doing more to tackle rising unemployment with work, and projects on employability have increased by 70 per cent in the last six months. Two thirds of Centres now carry out specific work on volunteering and employability. Mr. Smith added: “Volunteering is an excellent way to develop and improve the ‘soft skills’ needed for employment including teamwork, communication and other social and interpersonal skills.”