Volunteering Matters Chief Executive
Oonagh Aitken, Chief Executive of Volunteering Matters

I am delighted and immensely proud to be the Chief Executive of Volunteering Matters and to welcome you to our new website. I hope it will be one you will visit often and have fun navigating.

We are launching our rebrand and positioning our charity as leading the UK volunteering in policy and practice. Why is this a good time for us? We want to continue to appeal to potential volunteers of all ages and position ourselves at the heart of volunteering in the UK. Volunteering Matters describes accurately what we are about and how we can help volunteers contribute to their communities.

But there are other things going on in the world other than our rebrand. We have a general election in May; one that most difficult to call. Whatever your politics, I think you will agree that this election result will be extremely important for the sector.

What concerns us most?

Our society faces significant challenges; we have an ageing population, persistently high youth unemployment and increasing health inequalities. All this in the context of a significant reduction in the capacity of public services.

These challenges notwithstanding, volunteering and social action remain highly effective ways of helping to maintain individual and community health and well-being and promoting social inclusion. Volunteering Matters  (previously operating as CSV for 52 years) has longstanding experience of  how volunteering improves and sustains individual and community wellbeing.

Given our work and experience , we are concerned about  the impact of  continued austerity on people and communities and urge the next government to acknowledge the value of and invest effectively in the volunteering  sector,  given its critical role in helping to promote and sustain the health and well being of individuals and communities. We would like the new government to:-

  1. Help young people make a greater contribution to their communities by making space in the curriculum for volunteering  and, social action and implement the youth guarantee.
  2. Ensure effective  application of the Social Value Act so that the volunteering sector is meaningfully engaged in design and the delivery of  local services  for people and communities.
  3. Work with the volunteering sector to identify and help remove  the barriers to volunteering  faced by many citizens;
  4. Recognise the importance and benefits of volunteering  for millions of people across the United Kingdom, by investing in the volunteering  sector to promote and sustain health and well-being and bring communities together.

Whatever the general election result – minority government, coalition or one majority party – Volunteering Matters will continue to work to provide high quality, meaningful volunteering opportunities for everyone, no matter their age or ability or background, across the UK.