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Cameron's ten new measures to boost voluntarism

By Tim Montgomerie 
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The Downing Street website lists ten specific new pro-charity measures announced today as part of the Prime Minister's Big Society speech:

  1. "A £10million Social Action Fund to support the most promising ideas for growing giving in priority areas in England and boosting levels of engagement over the next two years – including new schemes for people to volunteer a little when it suits them or match funding school philanthropy projects
  2. Challenge Prizes, of up to £100,000 for the best solutions to volunteer challenges
  3. A £30 million fund to improve the effectiveness of infrastructure organisations that support front line organisations
  4. £1 million to support Youthnet which runs the volunteering website and which will share its data more freely with organisations. Facebook have said that they will make this data accessible through them
  5. £700,000 to support Philanthropy UK connecting wealthy people with charities that need their support
    £400,000 support from Government and NESTA to trial ‘Spice’ in England which gives volunteers ‘thank yous’ like vouchers or discounts with local businesses when they do good things for the community
  6. Establishing a new honours committee to ensure people are recognised and celebrated for exceptional and sustained philanthropy
  7. Trial charity promotions on the public service website Directgov that gets around 4.5 million visits per week
  8. Open up government buildings to charities and voluntary groups
  9. Hold a Giving Summit in the Autumn to bring together charities, philanthropists, businesses, technologists and financiers to set the course for the future of giving
  10. All Ministers have agreed to a one day volunteering challenge."

I can't say I object to any of the measures although most could easily have come from New Labour. The big thing I would have hoped to have seen from a Conservative-led government is a revolution in the funding relationship between big government and big charities. We need a charity sector that looks to society and not to politicians and bureaucrats for money. I don't see anything in what Cameron announced today that will create a more independent and innovative voluntary sector.


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