A £7m fund has been launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to provide more opportunities for people to volunteer.
The Volunteering Futures Fund aims to boost access to volunteering across arts, culture, sports, charity, youth and heritage organisations.
While £6m of the costs have been provided directly from the government, a further £1.15m has been contributed by the Pears Foundation and NHS Charities Together.
The Fund is focusing on improving access to volunteering for young people, those impacted by loneliness, people with disabilities as well as those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
National organisations as well as those running regional and local volunteering projects are being urged by the government to apply for funding.
Also involved in the Fund’s launch is Arts Council England, which is distributing £4.7m of the fund. It has this week launched a competition for expressions of interest in funding for £100,001 or above for organisations to run training and to support volunteering projects. These grants will be awarded by the end of March 2022.
Volunteering made easier to access through a new £7million #VolunteeringFuturesFund— DCMS (@DCMS) November 22, 2021
For projects in the arts, culture, sports, civil society, youth and heritage sectors
Register interest⬇️https://t.co/IATjMUqAyV@ace_national | @pearsfoundation | @NHSCharities pic.twitter.com/VGwqqKjDuh
“There are so many benefits to volunteering such as improving mental health, learning new skills and becoming part of a community,” said charities minister Nigel Huddleston.
“I urge organisations to apply for grants through Arts Council England, to develop and deliver high quality volunteering opportunities.”
NHS Charities Together chief executive Ellie Orton added: “Volunteering is the lifeblood of our communities and has really important personal benefits too, from meeting new people to improving your mental health.
“This fund offers a much-needed boost to help young people from all backgrounds access life-changing volunteering opportunities, and we’re excited to be part of it."