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Volunteering in the downturn: Research report launched

Today NCVO hosted an event exploring volunteering during the economic downturn chaired by Karl Wilding (Director of Public Policy, NCVO). Speakers included:

  • Lynne Berry, Chair of the Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing
  • Debbie Usiskin, Vice-chair of the Association of Volunteer Managers
  • Simon Parker, Director, New Local Government Network. 

They discussed how volunteering had fared over the last few years and what might lie ahead.

The event marked the release of the report from a three-year research project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The research looked at volunteering across England during the downturn and drew on more than 140 interviews with volunteers, organisations that work with volunteers and local authorities. 

A summary of research and the full research report is available to download:

Two project briefing papers were also produced summarising the key issues for Volunteer Centres and Councils for Voluntary Services and for Local Authorities:

If you have any enquiries about the research please email Andy Curtis: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  



The 2013-14 Annual Return of Volunteer Centres

The Annual Return of Volunteer Centres provides crucial data on the activities of Volunteer Centres in England. The results are used by NCVO and the Volunteer Centre network to inform development work and improve practice.

We still believe that the majority of volunteering takes place at the local level and that Volunteer Centres have a crucial part in helping this to happen, perhaps now more than ever. And this survey, which we create and analyse annually, really helps us understand and advocate for this.

If you work for or run a Volunteer Centre (whether integrated or independent) and are able to provide information on its behalf, we would welcome and value your response.

Take part

You can complete the survey online – we would appreciate it if you could do this by Wednesday 11 March.

If you want to prepare your answers in advance, you can download a PDF of the survey questions. Please complete the survey online rather than on the PDF.

Results from 2012/2013

We have also published the results of the 2012/13 survey today in IVR’s Evidence Bank.


Review of evidence on measuring the outcomes of youth social action and leadership

A new review by IVR (PDF, 600KB) brings together existing evidence on the outcomes of youth volunteering, social action and leadership and on the metrics which can be used to measure them.

Read more: Review of evidence on measuring the outcomes of youth social action and leadership


Free seminar focusing on economic austerity and volunteering by older people

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Cardiff University

In recent years the political, economic and social climate in which volunteering by older adults occurs has changed significantly, with the onset of an economic downturn, concern about pensions, a change in the public policy context for volunteering following a change of government, and the abolition of default retirement age. The notion of ‘un-retirement’ is being used to capture the new reality of older people.

Read more: Free seminar focusing on economic austerity and volunteering by older people


New guidance on quality in youth social action

In 2012, IVR, working with Generation Change, the Young Foundation and the Cabinet Office contributed to the Decade of Social Action Review and produced a scoping document for a quality framework that could underpin quality in youth social action. To support the first anniversary of the #iwill campaign, Generation Change issued a call for information on how organisations apply the six quality principles of youth social action to their own programmes.

In addition to this, they reviewed programme literature from their member organisations – including handbooks, training manuals, evaluations and commissioning practices – to gain a deeper understanding of what ‘quality’ means in the youth social action sector. IVR’s Nick Ockenden has contributed to their new report, ‘Raising the Quality of Youth Social Action: Applying 6 quality principles’, sets out guidance on how to apply the quality principles effectively.


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