Thousands of people are volunteering in Staffordshire to make their community a better place.
New figures show the breadth of involvement, particularly among youth organisations, libraries and groups supporting young families.
Staffordshire County Council commissioned a consortium to support and expand the voluntary sector so it can help reduce public demand on local authority services, for example by supporting older people to stay independent and remain in their own homes for longer.
John Tradewell, Staffordshire County Council’s Director of Strategy, Governance and Change, said:
The consortium is focusing on the areas of health and care, children and families, young people and backing organisations like community libraries, so that there’s more help and advice for people and support for organisations within the community, rather than people automatically turning to the council for help.”
The three groups in the consortium are the Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS), Support Staffordshire and South Staffordshire Community and Voluntary Action (SSCVA).
John Tradewell added:
The consortium’s role is to provide existing groups the support to thrive and expand their services where necessary and give new organisations the practical help they need to get off the ground and work with their communities.”
Figures to be presented to the county council’s Corporate Review scrutiny committee on April 3 show:
- The consortium has helped voluntary and community groups win £2.6 million of funding since August;
- There are 610 volunteers in the county’s 43 libraries;
- 78 youth organisations have been provided with one-to-one development support;
- 21,769 young people are regularly taking part in community-delivered activities such as youth clubs;
- 7,940 volunteers support those youth activities, including more than 1,500 under-18s, which is an increase of more than 60 per cent;
- 84 health and care focused voluntary organisations have been helped, while 270 have registered with Support Staffordshire’s online directory.
Phil Pusey, Chief Executive of SCVYS, said:
Just this month 30 people, whose ages span six decades, attended one of our youth work training days and it was brilliant to see the diversity of input and investment that children and young people are getting from the enthusiastic and dedicated local volunteers running projects and programmes.”
John Tradewell said:
It’s fantastic to realise that thousands of people volunteering their time, energy and a wide variety of expertise to help others day in and day out.
The three organisations in the consortium all have their roots in Staffordshire and since winning the contract have been out building relationships with voluntary and community groups, as well as borough and district councils, not just to help now, but to understand where they can match a need with a provider and develop the county’s ability to help itself.”
Notes to editors.
According to a recent report from the Office of National Statistics, the number of hours volunteers provided to good causes dropped 7% between 2012 and 2015. The total value of volunteering to the economy slumped by £1bn from £23.6bn to £22.6bn over the same period. Experts say the fall can be explained by increasing demands on volunteers’ time. The proportion of Brits volunteering has actually increased in recent years, but the average amount of time put into this form of unpaid work has dropped. The data also showed young people aged 16-24 are devoting significantly more time to volunteering, with 17 minutes per volunteer per day recorded on average in 2015, compared to 8.6 minutes in 2000. The reverse is true among those aged 25-34, with a drop from 14.5 minutes per volunteer per day to six minutes recorded during the same timeframe.