New bank holiday proposed

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The Independent Online

A new bank holiday should be introduced in 2012 to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics and Paralympics, the Government was urged today.

A coalition of organisations including the TUC and a number of voluntary groups have called for a new Community Day bank holiday in late October to recognise and celebrate the nation's volunteering efforts and encourage people to take part in community events.

Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, the executive director of Community Service Volunteers, a UK volunteering charity, said: "We know that two-thirds of the thousands of people who volunteer every October for Make a Difference Day have never volunteered before, and that two-thirds of those who try it out go on to volunteer again. It's clear there is untapped energy out there."

The coalition added that a new bank holiday in late October would break the four-month gap between the August and Christmas bank holidays – the longest gap between public holidays in the calendar.

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