Firms urged to set up volunteering schemes

Volunteering England has launched a campaign to encourage SMEs to give more to charities by setting up employer supported volunteering (ESV) schemes.

Currently, some 14 per cent of small businesses run such schemes.

Over half (59 per cent) of private sector employment comes from small businesses and the campaign hopes to encourage smaller companies to offer the same opportunities as bigger organisations which allow employees to volunteer through their work.

Volunteering England’s drive will address how, why and where to get started volunteering. A website is available to help SMEs, offering information, resources and advice.

Industry bodies including the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) are supporting the campaign, with David Frost, director general of the BCC, saying it backs employer s supported volunteering and recognises the benefits they can offer businesses.

Commenting on ESV Mr Frost adds: ‘It can help raise profiles, reach new markets, recruit the best employees and influence government. Volunteering England has provided an excellent web portal to help SMEs achieve these tangible business benefits through employer supported volunteering.’

Last week, Volunteering England published a report that stated volunteers in the health service are providing an ‘invaluable service’.

The findings showed that voluntary work benefits the wider community and the helpers themselves.

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