Workfare and Charity in 2016 - where it is leading?

WORKFARE and CHARITY in 2016 – where is it leading?

According to the Charity Retail Association charity shops in UK generate £300m a year in profit “harnessing the skills of more than 217,000 volunteers nationwide”.

KVV has found that some of those “volunteers” will be workfare placements, helping charities to make profit out of unpaid forced labour.

The Benefits of Volunteering

It is widely recognised that volunteering benefits everyone, the community, community organisations and volunteers. People give their time as volunteers for a great many reasons and discover benefits that they hadn’t anticipated. Keep volunteering Voluntary recognises that these benefits include the development of employment skills and the opportunity to get references, however, it is crucial to remember that volunteering is time given freely through choice.

Some of the benefits of volunteering include:

Two protests coming up....

There are two protests coming up that may be of interest to KVV supporters. The first concerns the news that Employment Coaches from the US healthcare firm Maximus are to be based in GP surgeries In Islington as part of the ‘Health and Work Programme’.  The scheme is aimed at unemployed Islington residents with long term health conditions and has been devised by Islington Clinical Commissioning Group and Islington Council, who describe the idea as “jobs on prescription”.

We're winning! Help us keep up the pressure. Workfare is not volunteering – whatever the name. Charities can stop it happening.

Back in November 2015, the Government announced in its Autumn Statement that the schemes known as Community Work Placements (CWP) and Mandatory Work Activity (MWA ) will end in 2016. These schemes are part of government policies to force unemployed people to work unpaid or face ‘sanctions’ – in other words lose their benefits, for up to 3 years. CWPs were specially aimed at voluntary groups and charities, and often sold as “volunteering”. The CWP programme was set up to run for two years and scheduled to end in April of this year.

Why it's still important for charities to sign the keep volunteering voluntary agreement

As a campaign that has highlighted how the principle of volunteering has been undermined by the use of workfare in the third sector, whilst targeted and sold to the sector as volunteering, Keep Volunteering Voluntary cautiously welcomes news regarding two such workfare schemes in the recent Autumn Statement.

What's happening in Lewisham and KVV?

When we at Volunteer Centre Lewisham heard about Workfare and KVV we knew that we needed to be proactive in getting the message out to groups.  We have done a number of things over the last few months including:

Please support us to Keep Volunteering Voluntary

August saw the campaign to Keep Volunteering Voluntary break through 600 signatories - current total is 618! Thank you to all those organisations who have signed up, recognising the importance to society of the principle of volunteerism as an act of free will. Hopefully many more of you reading this will soon be signing up too, especialy given what has recently transpired.....

The Perils of Participation - 14th July Manchester

The Perils of Participation:

Voluntary Groups, ‘Workfare’ and Benefits Sanctions

Manchester: 14th July 2014 1pm-4pm

KVV is working with a number of Manchester-based voluntary groups to run an event on Tuesday 14th July. Aimed at voluntary organisations in the Greater Manchester area, the event will provide an opportunity to:

This Volunteers' Week, help keep it voluntary!

Poster showing support for KVV

In the year since we launched, over 550 charities and voluntary groups have pledged to Keep Volunteering Voluntary. Together we are highlighting the value of volunteering and building a strong consensus that responsible voluntary organisations will not take part in workfare schemes and put people at risk of devastating welfare sanctions. Thanks to your support, Keep Volunteering Voluntary was recently named Guardian Charity Campaign of the Month!

 

Next week, 1st-7th June, is Volunteers' Week. Here's a few ways you can help grow the campaign

How we’re Keeping Volunteering Voluntary

Shelley at the Volunteer Managers' Forum

By Shelley Hart, HAVCO Volunteer Centre Manager and Havering Volunteer Managers Forum co-ordinator

After attending a conference at Greater London Volunteering where Keep Volunteering Voluntary (KVV) were speaking, and hearing first hand from a volunteer who had been subjected to sanctions, I felt very passionately about raising awareness further into my own local area and borough I work in.

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