Communities: Charities and Volunteers

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:05 pm on 13th February 2019.

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Photo of Martin Docherty Martin Docherty Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Industries of the Future and Blockchain Technologies) 5:05 pm, 13th February 2019

I will come on to answer that question at the end of my contribution. There is a big discussion to be had about the legislative process of the UK Government and a distinct understanding of what volunteering actually means, but I will come back to the hon. Gentleman’s point further on in the debate because he raises a very important point about the difference between volunteering and being told to do something. Volunteering is a free-will activity.

It is essential to understand that, as in England, Wales and Northern Ireland—although I do not see any Members from Northern Ireland in the Chamber—the vast majority of voluntary organisations are small, with no employees; they are founded, organised and able to connect communities solely through volunteers. As a sector, both charities and the many unincorporated voluntary organisations play a central role in the delivery of people-centred services and in ensuring that communities, through a whole host of avenues, are able to inform and shape our nations. We have already heard about how the sector informs participation and democracy.