Community Volunteer Projects To Get Over Half A Million In Grants

Local voluntary and community organisations in England with plans to involve volunteers in the delivery of health and social care projects could benefit from the latest funding round from the Opportunities for Volunteering Scheme (OFV), a DoH initiative that provides grants to local health and social care organisations in England.

Volunteering England (VE), which administers the OFV general fund, has prioritised projects that involve volunteers in: health promotion; health advocacy; supported volunteering; support for people with specific health conditions, befriending and support for people with specific health and social care needs.

VE will distribute over £500,000 in new grants projects that will run for three years, with grants of between £10,000 and £35,000 per annum. The deadline for preliminary applications is 5pm, Monday 30 July 2007.

Priority for funding will also be given to projects that:

  • Bring about lasting change for people and communities facing disadvantage and discrimination
  • Aim to have a wider impact by influencing policy and practice in statutory health and social care services
  • Promote inclusion by bringing different groups of people together to foster mutual understanding, awareness and respect
  • Involve a partnership of two (or more) organisations to share good practice and learning regarding the management of volunteers.

Volunteering England is one of 16 national agents, including Age Concern, Barnardo’s and MIND, that distribute a total of £6.7 million to 300 local projects in England to enable them to involve volunteers in their work.

Previous grants have been awarded to organisations that, for example, promote access to health and social services for people with learning disabilities, provide health promotion and support for people living with HIV/AIDS, or advocacy for elderly members of the community.

Barbara Moody, Grants and Development Officer, said: “This is a great opportunity to help support volunteers to improve the lives of disadvantaged people in communities where there is a high level of need.  Projects must benefit both volunteers and service users. Working as a volunteer can improve an individual’s skills, confidence and self-worth.”

As each OFV national agent’s grant criteria varies, organisations should apply to the most appropriate agent for the best chance of securing funding. Only one application is allowed to each agent at any one time.