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Statement from Volunteer Now about National Service

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Statement from Volunteer Now about National Service

Volunteer Now is concerned by the proposed National Service scheme set out by the Conservative party and the potential it has to damage the perception and long-term uptake of crucial community volunteering.

Volunteering is something you choose to do, freely, simply because you want to.  Volunteer Now’s membership principles state that volunteering is about freedom to choose.  The National Service scheme proposed by the Conservative party is by definition not volunteering.

This scheme will require significant investment in infrastructure to make it work effectively.  It is coming into a sector where funding has been reduced and capacity to involve large numbers of people is curtailed.

There is a real danger that by removing their all-important freedom to choose, young people will be deterred from participating in real volunteering.

Statistically, people aged 16 – 25 years old make up 22% of the volunteering population in Northern Ireland, which is on a par with most other age groups.  We do not sense that young people will not freely volunteer.  However, there is a continual need to promote the benefits of volunteering consistently to all young people in order to secure a generation of volunteers now and in the future.  Investment to do that would be incredibly valuable.

Surely there is a better way to inspire a lifelong love of volunteering than forcing young people to get involved in community service?

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