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Volunteering in A Recession

Written By Mary Laverty

As a result of the recession many young people and adults are now out of work, this has prompted a booming interest in volunteering.

The British Red Cross says it has seen inquiries about volunteering opportunities quadruple since the downturn began.

Mary Anne Burton, head of volunteering for the British Red Cross said: “The number of inquiries we’ve received has increased sharply as the recession has taken hold. We’re seeing people who have been made redundant or taken early retirement, and a rising number of young people who are anxious about the tough job market they are about to enter.”

The charity offers training for qualifications and says volunteering could help people back into work.

Warren Baldock, 19, started volunteering with the British Red Cross in 2008. He works in the charity’s Home from Hospital scheme.

“At the moment the jobs market, especially for younger people, is almost non-existent,” he said. “I found it very hard to find even part-time work when I was a student, and the recession has made the situation much worse. I know a lot of people are leaving university with degrees, but not finding work, so I think I’ve been really lucky.”

The Red Cross figures echo findings published late last year by volunteering charity VSO, which said it had seen inquiries about volunteering double. This story is being repeated in other volunteer organizations across the UK.

While the numbers of volunteers may be rising, many voluntary organisations and charities are still being hit negatively by the recession due to funding problems.

Demand for hep is soaring while funds are harder to source states Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East (VONNE).

Hardest hit are charities advising on debt, family breakdown and mental health issues, the survey found. A third of groups questioned for the study are having to turn people away due to ‘Inadequate funding’. More than half of the volunteer groups questioned were already seeing a downturn in their funding and predicted further decreases this year.