To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to tackle potential barriers to volunteering; and whether she plans to make funding available to tackle those barriers.
The Government recognises that volunteering is critical to a vibrant and resilient civil society; it benefits volunteers and the organisations involving them and has transformational impacts on beneficiaries and their communities.
As a department, we are focused on simplifying routes into volunteering and seeking to make volunteering more inclusive.
Through the £7.4 million Volunteering Futures Fund, volunteering opportunities are being created to remove barriers to volunteering in arts, culture, sports, civil society, youth and heritage sectors. Young people, people with disabilities and those experiencing loneliness will be given the opportunity to volunteer and help others. DCMS is investing £6.25 million in the fund, together with £1.17 million provided by matched funders.
Our delivery partners for this programme are the Arts Council England, NHS Charities Together and Pears Foundation. The 19 Arts Council England funded projects will work with over 160 partners across heritage, arts, libraries, festival, community and sport organisations to increase accessibility to volunteering.
We are also supporting the development of the sector-led Vision for Volunteering, through which an ambitious ten year action plan is being developed to improve the volunteer experience. One of the five themes of the Vision is ‘Equity and Inclusion’, in recognition of the barriers that some people face to participating in volunteering.