Government urged to fund charity jobs for unemployed young people

The government is being called on to build on a wave of volunteering amid the Covid-19 pandemic to give unemployed young people paid roles within charities.

The “year in service” for young people would help charities in their work supporting communities and “mitigate the long-term scarring of unemployment”, according to the proposals.

Under the recommendation, which is backed by a number of MPs and charities, the government would pay young people the national minimum wage “to serve their community”.

This could include tutoring young children, supporting elderly care home residents, tree planning or teaching English to refugees and migrants.

The call has been made in a report The Policies of Belonging by the think tank Onward into how communities can be supported as the UK recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among those supporting the report are a cross party coalition of MPs, including Danny Kruger, the MP for Devizes who published a government commissioned review into the voluntary sector last year.

The report has been published as part of a cross party programme launched by the think tank called Repairing our Social Fabric. This aims to develop ideas to strengthen communities.

Others to endorse the report include programme backers Joseph Rowntree, Shelter and Power to Change as well as New Philanthropy Capital, NAVCA and charities Young Foundation and Catch22.

The ‘year to serve’ “presents an opportunity for the Government to support young people and to buttress the civic sector by helping young people to serve their communities.

“A “Year to Serve” scheme, through which young people are paid the national minimum wage to undertake socially useful jobs, would generate social capital as well as reducing economic displacement among young people.”

Charitable Action Zones

Among other proposals is for the creation of “charitable action zones”. These would encourage charitable donations and volunteering in targeted areas through tax reliefs. This could include reducing inheritance tax though people giving 10% of their estate to charity’s supporting local areas.

Other tax reliefs mooted within the zones cover corporate donations.

The government could also match gift aid donations to charities in specific areas.

Onward director Will Tanner said: “Everyone focuses on the impact of lockdown on the economy but the truth is that the pandemic has taken a terrible toll on the social fabric of our lives, compounding the long-term decline of community over recent decades.

“As we emerge – finally – from the pandemic, we need to not just revive a flatlining economy, we need to take steps to empower and recapitalise communities, to give people back a sense of belonging and rekindle the social networks and institutions upon which we all rely.”

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