Councils 'fail to make use of community volunteers'

LOCAL authorities are failing to enlist help from a growing number of people who want to do voluntary work, according to the charity Community Service Volunteers, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

A survey of councils' community care plans for this year shows that 80 per cent either fail to mention volunteers or under-rate their use. More than half make no mention of this untapped resource and only 20 per cent have clear plans to recruit and deploy volunteers.

The results contrast with the number of people wanting to volunteer, according to an earlier survey of older people which showed that more than 50 per cent wanted to do voluntary work but were waiting to be asked. The latest survey examined the community care plans of 59 local authorities in England and Wales, chosen at random and representing more than half of all councils.

Elisabeth Hoodless, CSV's executive director, called on local authorities to develop clear strategies for involving volunteers. She said they provided a 'flexible, cost-effective and highly motivated workforce'.

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