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Cabinet Office offers grants and contracts for European Year of Volunteering

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Wed, 12/01/2011

The Office for Civil Society has opened a programme of grants and partnership contracts, totalling almost half a million pounds, for civil society organisations to support the government's Big Society vision as part of the European Year of Volunteering (EYV) in England this year.

The EYV in 2011 challenges the three-quarters of the EU population who do not already volunteer to start doing so and requires member states to develop a national work programme encouraging and maintaining volunteering. Three contracts and six grants are available to organisations helping the Cabinet Office achieve this goal.

A spokesman for the OCS said: "The Year provides an excellent opportunity to support the development of social action, a key pillar of the Big Society.

"As part of the national work programme for the year, the Office for Civil Society has identified national priorities which support the Big Society Vision, and is seeking partner organisations to support the development and implementation of activities within England which relate to these priorities."


Contracts, worth £68,000 each, are on offer to organisations offering leadership in one or more of three areas: employer-supported volunteering; volunteer management; and 'opening the door to volunteering'. They will last from April until the end of 2011.

The organisation winning the first contract will develop good practice within the private, public and voluntary sectors through "effective employer-supported volunteering". The second will lead on identifying and implementing good practice in volunteer management and the final contract will promote good practice in providing opportunities to volunteer, including to socially-excluded groups.


Grants of £37,000 each are available for five organisations or teams of organisations, to develop and deliver a programme of activities under five key themes which will each run for two months throughout the year. One further grant of £78,000 is available for a civil society organisation to lead on "sharing the learning" emerging from the activities undertaken.

Organisations winning grant funding will develop activities encouraging volunteering under the following themes in the corresponding months:

  • Young people and children (March and April)
  • Environment (May and June)
  • Sport (July and August)
  • Culture and the arts (September and October)
  • Health and social care (November and December)

While larger sector organisations stand a greater chance of success, there will be opportunities for smaller organisations to participate.

The spokesman said: "The lead roles are expected to operate nationally in order to maximise the reach. However, one of the requirements of the roles is to work with a variety of organisations working national, regionally and locally in order to benefit organisations working in different circumstances."

The deadline for grant applications is 7 February and the deadline for contract bids is 7 March. To apply email the Cabinet Office.

Source: Civil Society Media